Northern Ireland news

Former drug smuggler Michaella McCollum in court for speeding on 'R' plates

Michaella McCollum

MICHAELLA McCollum has appeared in court charged with speeding - while driving with R plates.

The 25-year-old, with an address given as Cloneen, Dungannon, Co Tyrone, appeared at Dungannon Magistrates Court yesterday charged with speeding on March 23 at the A4 Annaghilla Road, Ballygawley.

Police, who were monitoring speeds on the road detected a Suzuki Vitara which registered a speed of 84mph on the 60mph stretch of road.

McCollum who was driving with R-Plates, told police at the scene: “I panicked. I felt I had to speed up to overtake.”

Her lawyer said: “This was a well-known part of road and my client accepts she had no business being in the outside lane as a restricted driver. She didn’t realise the road was coming to an end.”

McCollum, known as one of the ‘Peru 2’ after she and another woman were caught smuggling drugs in Peru in 2013, was said to have passed her driving test last July.

In addition to needing her car to help her mother and , the defence disclosed McCollum, a mother, has been offered a place at Queen's University to study International Business and Economics, but this is dependent on her passing a mathematics exam for which she is currently studying in Belfast, requiring a regular commute.

He said, “My client is extremely keen to take up this offer and realises now how important her driving licence is. She asks to be allowed to keep it.”

District Judge John Meehan imposed a fine of £150 and four penalty points.

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