Michaela McCollum could be home within weeks

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Drugs mule Michaella McCollum could be back home in Northern Ireland in time for Christmas, according to reports.

The 23-year-old applied to be released under a new Peruvian law that allows foreign inmates to walk free after serving a third of their sentence.

If the former dancer’s application is approved, she could be headed back to her home in Dungannon, as early as the end of November.

Fr Sean Walsh, a Lima-based priest, told the Irish Star that three foreign inmates have already been released under the new laws.

He added that he spoke to Michaela three days ago, and that he believed she would be home “sooner rather than later”.

The priest said: “Michaella has not given judges any reason to say no to allowing her to go home under the new law.

“She has been a model prisoner.

“The only thing standing in her way at the moment is the fact that judges here are dragging their feet over the applications.

“They are overwhelmed with paperwork, and they want prisoners to pay an extra fine so they can employ staff to deal with the workload - but most of the prisoners here can’t afford it.

“But if the judges here were of the same mind as the prosecutors, Michaella would be out next month.”

Earlier this year, the Co Tyrone native’s repatriation to the North’s Hydebank prison was given the go-ahead by the Northern Ireland nPrison Service (NIPS) - but was delayed after Peruvian officials failed to stamp the documents for the transfer.

Glasgow native Melissa Reid was arrested alongside Michaella at Lima Airport in August 2013 as the pair tried to fly to Madrid.

They were found with 24lbs of cocaine hidden inside food packets in their luggage.