Published Tuesday, 01 October 2013
Michaella McCollum and Melissa Reid, when they were stopped at Lima airport. (© UTV)
Father Maurice Foley visited the pair on Saturday where he found them sitting outside under a parasol, drinking coffee and making telephone calls.
The 20-year-olds pleaded guilty to drugs offences behind closed doors before a judge at Sarita Colonia prison last week.
It was thought this would lead to shorter jail terms at sentencing which was due to happen on Tuesday - but prosecutors have told them they want a full confession and have asked for a new hearing.
Fr Foley described the women's condition as "brilliant". "Very, very well," he added.
He said McCollum Connolly, from Co Tyrone and Reid, from Scotland, were not in a cell but at a table in a wide open yard.
They were transferred to a more modern, well equipped prison after spending time in harsh conditions at Virgen de Fatima Prison in Lima.
"As well as that, they had telephone communication and they could use it for calling home. I thought they were in great form actually," Fr Foley said.
McCollum and Reid had claimed they were held at gunpoint and threatened by a Columbian drugs gang to smuggle 24lb of cocaine, which was found hidden inside food packages in their luggage as they attempted to board a flight to Spain.
The women, who had been working on Ibiza, were told that they could face a minimum of six years and eight months with no eligibility for parole after pleading.
But if their pleas are not accepted they could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison.
The priest said he had warned McCollum that she shouldn't expect to serve anything as short as a year in prison, which made her very emotional.
He said that the girls didn't know any more on the drugs gang responsible to comply with the prosecutors' call for a more detailed confession.
"All they have is the name of a cockney Englishman by the name of Jake or Joe and that's no good," he said.
"I think they just don't have that information themselves. My firm belief is that they were conned, they were backed into a compromising situation and their handlers worked on that and got them to go to customs with drugs.
"What very likely happened was that people coming behind them in the queue in the airport were the ones who walked through with the drugs."
© UTV News