PROSECUTORS in Peru have rejected the guilty pleas of Michaella McCollum Connolly and fellow suspected drug smuggler Melissa Reid.
McCollum Connolly (20) from Dungannon, Co Tyrone, and Reid (20) from Glasgow, pleaded guilty behind closed doors on Tuesday when they appeared before a judge in the port town of Callao, near the capital Lima.
They have been charged with attempting to smuggle £1.5 million worth of cocaine out of Peru.
Prosecutors have requested more information before accepting their admissions of guilt, which the women hope will reduce their prison sentence to six years and eight months.
Rejecting the two women’s guilty pleas, Peruvian state prosecutor Juan Rosas said: “the state prosecution considers that they [Michaella McCollum and Melissa Reid] have not fully accepted the charges”.
“They will be asked to give another statement before the judge explaining where the drugs came from, who supplied them and why they said they had been forced to carry them by an armed gang.”
The prosecution will ask the judge to set a new date for a hearing for Ms McCollum Connolly and Ms Reid to “accept fully” the charges against them.
During Tuesday’s hearing in Callao both women accepted the charges put forward by the prosecution and pleaded guilty to drug trafficking.
The 20-year-olds were stopped before boarding a flight from Lima to Madrid last month, when Peruvian police say they discovered 24lb (11kg) of cocaine hidden in food packages in their baggage.
Both women reportedly told the Peruvian authorities they were working in Ibiza and only met after being kidnapped at gunpoint before being forced to carry the drugs to Peru.
But after admitting the offences on Tuesday they were told they would be sentenced next Tuesday (October 1).