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Brighton mum caught up in drug smuggling plot tells of her ordeal
A mother convicted over an international drug smuggling plot described how she was “caged up like an animal” in a foreign jail.
Rachel Dougall returned to her home in Brighton last month after serving a one-year sentence for her involvement in a £1.6 million cocaine smuggling plot in Bali.
She was jailed for failing to report a crime after Bali police discovered cocaine stashed in a cigarette box in her three-bedroom villa – something she claims she knew nothing about.
Her alleged accomplice, 57-year-old grandmother Lindsay Sandiford, has been sentenced to death for smuggling.
Speaking for the first time since her release she revealed how police discovered cocaine after raiding her villa and claimed it belonged to her partner, Julian Ponder, who remains in a Bali prison after receiving a six-year sentence for possession of cocaine.
The 40-year-old is nowliving back in Brighton and has been reunited with her seven-year-old daughter Kitty.
She told a national newspaper: “I had not seen it [the cocaine] before. I was shocked and very angry to think that anyone could have been stupid enough to put something potentially lethal in my child’s room.
“I have never seen Julian do cocaine, so I did not believe it was his.
“I was totally innocent, but they said that if I co-operated I would be free to stay with my daughter. But they lied and caged me up like an animal.”
Ms Dougall said she was beaten by fellow inmates during her time in jail, developed serious illness, was almost forced to take drugs and considered killing herself.
She was held in a bug-infested, 18ft by 12ft police cell with more than a dozen other women, including Lindsay Sandiford.
She said: “I got beaten up a few times because the press called me the Queen of Bali.
“I would cover up my face and take the beatings as they punched and kicked me.
“I thought about killing myself many times, but what kept me going was my lovely daughter. I didn’t want to leave her without a mother.”
Talking about Sandiford, Ms Dougall described how she was equally afraid of her alleged accomplice and of a police firing squad.
Talking about drug use, she said: “It’s lawless. Some of my cellmates were addicts andwould get strung out.
“They tried to force me to do crack and meth, but I resisted, even when they pushed the crack pipe into my face.”
Ms Dougall’s health was seriously affected after her weight plummeted from 9st 4lb to 7st 1lb.
She suffered pneumonia and scabies but said the BritishEmbassy “didn’twant to know,” while having to fend off sexual assaults from cellmates and prison guards.
She said: “I’m gutted that my dream of living in paradise ended so tragically.
“I love Bali but I’ll never set foot there again.”
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