UK & World News
Peru Drugs: Melissa Reid To Plead Guilty
A Briton arrested on suspicion of trying to smuggle £1.5m of cocaine out of Peru will plead guilty in exchange for a short sentence, Sky sources say.
Melissa Reid, from Glasgow, has struck a deal with prosecutors that will give her a formal sentence of six years and eight months, a senior prison source in Lima has confirmed.
The source said: "Melissa Reid has had a number of meetings with her defence lawyer at the Virgen de Fatima prison.
"She is aware of the length of sentence she faces if she continues to deny the charges and is found guilty. She is aware of the level of evidence against her.
"She has instructed her lawyer to indicate that at the next hearing before the judge she intends to plead guilty."
The Mail on Sunday has reported that Reid's family believe it could mean she is freed in less than three years - and may also be transferred to a UK jail.
Reid was stopped at Lima's airport on August 6 - along with Michaella McCollum from Northern Ireland - with 11kg (24lb) of cocaine hidden in food packets while trying to board a flight to Spain.
Following their arrest, the women said they had been threatened at gunpoint and forced to smuggle the cocaine by a criminal gang.
The 20-year-old told the newspaper that prosecutors would crucially drop claims that she was being paid to carry the drugs.
Speaking from prison, she said: "After a lot of thought and advice from my lawyer I am going to go in front of the judge and admit I was in possession of the drugs and that I went to Peru to pick up drugs to take to Spain - I am willing to plead guilty to that.
"I did it under duress, I still maintain that, and I am glad I do not have to say I accepted money to do it."
The pair, who had been working in Ibiza, were facing up to 15 years in prison for drug trafficking.
Reid said she had changed her mind in a bid to save years of her life.
"Pleading guilty is going to enable me to get back to my family in Scotland sooner rather than later," she said.
"I do not want to be in jail until 35 - I can't get back those years."
She added: "I am really scared about what I am about to do but I am also relieved that there could be a light at the end of the tunnel.
"I'm now coming to terms with the fact I am so far away from my family. This is real."
Michaella McCollum's lawyer has also reportedly hinted that her client may also plead guilty, according to the Mail on Sunday.
Reid said that McCollum - from Dungannon in County Tyrone - is "like a sister" to her and that the pair "keep each other going".
The pair were pictured last month looking tired and bewildered during a day of legal hearings which eventually saw them charged.