10 key events in the case of British drug-smugglers the Peru Two


Drugs mule Melissa Reid is returning to Britain after spending nearly three years in jail in Peru.

The 22-year-old smiled as she arrived at Lima Airport on Tuesday evening with her father, Billy, and British embassy staff, before being whisked through security by Peruvian officials overseeing her deportation.

Here is a timeline of events since the arrest of Melissa Reid and Michaella McCollum in Peru in 2013.

August 2013

Michaella McCollum Connolly and Melissa Reid

Melissa Reid and Michaella McCollum - who had been on separate holidays in Ibiza - are arrested at Lima airport while trying to board a flight to Madrid. The National Police of Peru say they found more than 24lb of cocaine - thought to be worth around £1.5 million - hidden in food in the luggage of the two women.

The pair say they were forced to take the bags in their luggage "at gunpoint", but are charged with the promotion of drug trafficking and warned they face a maximum prison sentence of 15 years if convicted.

September 2013

Reid and McCollum - both aged 20 at the time - plead guilty to smuggling in a private hearing before a judge. Reid's family say the plea will "get her home quicker" with a reduced sentence, but prosecutors ask for more information on where the drugs came from and who supplied them before accepting their admissions of guilt.

The guilty pleas come on the same day that the UN declares Peru has overtaken Colombia as the world's number one coca leaf producer.

December 2013

Melissa Reid

The pleas are accepted and the women are sentenced to six years and eight months in Santa Monica prison.

April 2014

An application is sent to the Scottish Prison Service for Reid to serve the remainder of her sentence closer to home. Her father, Billy, meets then Scottish justice secretary Kenny MacAskill to discuss the process.

August 2014

McCollum applies for a similar prison transfer to Northern Ireland, with a solicitor describing their conditions as "horrendous".

November 2014

Michaella McCollum Connolly and Melissa Reid

Reid's father appears in a Foreign Office video warning of the dangers of drug crime. Mr Reid says: "It's horrendous to see your daughter in handcuffs and the living conditions that she has to put up with. Melissa has spent her own 20th and 21st birthdays in prison in Peru.

"She missed the significant event of her only brother's wedding. Events such as Christmas are non-existent for us. There'll be no celebrations in our house, there'll be no Christmas tree until we get her back home."

June 2015

Prison transfer agreements are approved for both women and they are expected to travel to the UK "within weeks", but the process is delayed.

April 2016

McCollum leaves prison on parole under new Peruvian legislation on early prison release. It is thought she will have to remain in Peru for a "considerable time" and in an interview with RTE she says: "I made a decision in a moment of madness. I'm not a bad person. I want to demonstrate that I'm a good person."

Meanwhile, Reid applies to be expelled from the country under an early release scheme for deporting first-time drug offenders.

May 2016

Melissa Reid

Authorities approve Reid's application during a court hearing. A magistrate rules she has been remorseful and shown her "intention to be re-inserted back in society" after serving a third of her sentence.

June 2016

Reid leaves prison and travels to Lima Airport with her father and British Embassy staff, to return to the UK as a free woman.