“I was duped”: Grandmother who smuggled cocaine into Portugal says she was framed
A British grandmother who smuggled $AUD 1.95 million worth of cocaine onto a cruise ship with her husband is now worried she will die in a foreign prison after being diagnosed with suspected breast cancer.
Susan Clarke, 71, has been in a maximum-security jail in Portugal since last September following her conviction for a drugs plot with her husband, Roger, 72.
The pensioners from London were both jailed for 8 years and claimed that they were conned by criminals into carrying suitcases with the drugs hidden in the lining.
Susan is looking frail and gaunt as she is living in fear of breast cancer and awaiting the results of a painful double biopsy on her left breast.
“My health is terrible,” she explained to The Sunday People.
“I may never get out of here alive and there’s no way I can reduce my sentence now. We were made an example of but I’ve been handed a death sentence.
“My worry is that I’ll never be free and I’ll be leaving here in a box.”
Susan said that the hardest thing was being apart from her husband, Roger, who was serving his sentence in a different jail in Lisbon.
“We feel completely abandoned. The Foreign Office has ignored us, Boris Johnson has not helped and we have been completely cut adrift. No pensioner should be treated like this.
“We found out our appeal had been dismissed. I’m devastated and angry.
“I want to go home, I want to go back to the UK. I want to be with Roger. That’s the worst thing, the worst torture, to be apart from him.”
It’s not the first time the couple have found themselves behind bars as they were arrested in 2010 in Norway for trying to smuggle 240 kilograms of cannabis into Oslo.
The couple were arrested again after a tip off from Britain’s National Crime Agency as they enjoyed a cruise from the Caribbean to Europe on the liner Marco Polo.
Susan said: “I can understand why people might well believe that we are guilty but we are not.
“That’s what hurts so much. We know that we are completely innocent.”
Susan has lodged an application to be transferred to Britain to serve her sentence.
“I find it very hard. It’s very noisy but I try to keep myself to myself. I can’t speak to my cellmates because they speak no English. I’m allowed out for two hours each day. In summer it’s sweltering. I have it hard but Roger has it even worse. I’ve not seen him since last year.
“We can only hope and pray that we survive this nightmare.
She added “The only things we are guilty of is trusting people we thought were friends – and maybe of being a bit naive.”
Image credit: Sunday Mirror
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