Published Sunday, 15 September 2013
Michaella McCollum Connolly pictured at a court hearing in Peru. (© Getty)
Michaella McCollum from Dungannon and Scottish woman Melissa Reid, both 20, are being held on drug trafficking charges in the South American country.
A total of 24lb (11kg) of cocaine, with an estimated street value of £1.5m, was found hidden in food packets in their luggage while they tried to board a flight to Spain at Lima International Airport in August.
Both women maintain that they knew the drugs were in their bags - but that a gang forced them at gunpoint to carry the cocaine.
According to the Mail On Sunday, Ms Reid's lawyer has now agreed a plea bargain with prosecutors that will see her plead guilty to drugs trafficking "in return for a sentence of six years and eight months".
Melissa's father had already been quoted as saying he was "not 100%" about the pair's version of events and that he thinks they should plead guilty to get a lesser sentence."
The newspaper said it spoke to the Scottish accused by phone.
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.
Melissa Reid to the Mail On Sunday
"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," she told the newspaper.
Ms Reid 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.
"Pleading guilty is going to enable me to get back to my family in Scotland sooner rather than later. I do not want to be in jail until I'm 35 - I can't get those years back."
The Mail on Sunday also says Ms McCollum's lawyer hinted that "she too may plead guilty".
The pair have yet to make their pleas in front of a judge and are expected to do so when they are back in court later this month.
If they plead guilty, they could be free in as little as two or three years.
During their time in custody in Peru the women have become very close, with Ms Reid describing their relationship as "like sisters".
Her mum Debra has said the conditions both are facing are "difficult".
"They've been bitten by some bugs that are in the assessment unit they're being held in, quite badly - I believe that they've had to have an injection to try to stop them swelling up," she told This Morning.
"At the minute, they're being held in what they call the assessment unit. They're not in the main prison yet."
Michaella's family have started a fund to raise much needed cash to support her legal fight.
So far over £2,000 has been raised from those supporting the 20-year-old's legal battle.
Her sister Stephanie said: "She is trying to remain positive but is also being realistic in the fact that she may be there for a while."
© UTV News