Fears are held for the safety of Cassandra Sainsbury.
Fears are held for the safety of Cassandra Sainsbury. Instagram - cassieleigh_p_t

Accused Aussie drug mule's trip to hellish prison

"I DIDN'T do it mum, you have got to get me out".

Accused Aussie drug mule Cassie Sainsbury's mum Lisa says her daughter is terrified and begging for help as her family fear for her safety in a dangerously overcrowded South American jail.

"I didn't do it mum, you have got to get me out," were the words a hysterical Cassie used in a chilling phone call home to her mother Lisa Evans after her arrest.

The former personal trainer and ex-Country Fire Service volunteer has spent the past three weeks being shuttled between two Colombian jails, after police found 5.8kg of cocaine packed into what she says she thought were presents she was taking home to Adelaide on April 11.

Ms Sainsbury's fiance Scott Broadbridge spent Monday holed up in their Moana home, south of Adelaide, after receiving negative backlash on social media since news of his partner's arrest broke.

It is also understood Mr Broadbridge, who has spoken to Ms Sainsbury on the phone every night since she was incarcerated, is concerned over what he says is false information being spread about her on social media.

He is also believed to be worried about any potential impact public attention will have on her case.

Four cartels run the cocaine market in Colombia and it is understood the family has concerns for Ms Sainsbury's safety.

Ms Sainsbury's sister, Khala, said the family was taking advice from Sydney-based lawyer Jay Wiliams who has represented asylum seekers at the Manus Island detention centre.

She declined to make further comment upon the lawyer's advice.

It is understood the family was still attempting to contact the lawyer in Colombia who was representing Ms Sainsbury.

The Country Fire Service yesterday distanced itself from Ms Sainsbury, who they said had not been a volunteer since she served for a brigade on the Yorke Peninsula three years ago.

A spokeswoman asked the family to remove the reference to her being a CFS volunteer from their fundraiser page seeking the public's money to pay for her defence.

Cassie's family were forced to defend her from a growing public backlash on social media, saying she was simply "naive" to accept packages from a local man she met on a quick working holiday to the South American city in early April.

Cassie Sainsbury and her fiancee Scotty Broadbridge.
Cassie Sainsbury and her fiancee Scotty Broadbridge. Facebook

"He had been helping her all week, taking her around and showing her places, and just being a nice guy," Ms Evans said.

The family said Cassie wanted to buy headphones as presents for her bridal party and family ahead of her wedding next February.

"She mentioned about these headphones she wanted to get and this man said to her 'I know a guy that if you buy 16 or 18 of them, he can give you a really good price'," Ms Evans said.

The man brought what Cassie believed were headphones to her hotel on the morning she was to leave.

"And this is where the naive bit comes in, she didn't even rip it open to make sure it was headphones in there," Ms Evans said.

Mr Broadbridge also took to social media to defend her from those who don't believe her story. The family set up a fundraising site to raise money for her legal defence, but although it has raised more than $3000, it has also been overrun with comments from doubters.

"If you don't know Cassie, and the respectful, loving, caring person that she is, don't be so negative," Mr Broadbridge said.

"If this happened to your family is this how you'd want people responding to your situation. Just be respectful, we're trying to get an innocent girl back home where she belongs."

Mr Broadbridge said his fiance had travelled to Colombia on a working holiday.

He said she helped manage a commercial cleaning business with national and international clients.

Cassie is now weighing up whether or not she should plead guilty to the drug smuggling charges and hope to lessen a possible 25 year sentence, according to her mum.

Her trial could be two months away and Australian consular officials say they are helping.

El Buen Pastor is Bogota's biggest women's prison, and is overrun with drugs, violent criminals and staffed by corrupt guards who steal food brought to inmates by their families.

Young children live with some of their mothers in a wing with "inmates who have been convicted of crimes of sexual abuse against minors", according to recent reports.

The prison has been the subject of several recent media reports about filthy and dangerous conditions brought on by overcrowding the government said was at 36 per cent more than capacity.

"Regarding the guards, there are some that are good and some that are very difficult," one inmate told El Espectador newspaper last week.

"The bathrooms are terrible: they get blocked and you can't use them.

"There are 30 people lining up to use them. There are two showers serving more than 450 people.

"Visits are terrible because people come with food and they take it away, and they don't let the people through if they don't want to, they simply don't do it."

The district Personería, which runs prisons, recently warned there were 23 children under three years old being held with their mothers in a wing with sexual predators, surrounded by drug use, according to reports in El Tiempo.

Wednesday, April 3: Flies out alone to Colombia on a working holiday. Her fiance, Scott Broadbridge, says she was travelling because she helped manage a commercial cleaning business with national and international clients.

Thursday, April 4-Tuesday April 9: While in Colombia, she befriends a man who speaks English and who shows her around. When she finds some headphone sets she says she wants to take home as presents for her family and wedding party, the man says he knows someone who can get them cheaper.

Wednesday, April 10: Ms Sainsbury is handed the parcel containing the headphones and places it into her suitcase.

Thursday, April 11: Ms Sainsbury is arrested for drug trafficking at El Dorado International Airport in Bogota after 5.8kg of cocaine is found concealed in the packing of the sets of headphones.

She is refused bail and detained in El Buen Pastor jail, notorious for its squalid conditions and prison overcrowding.

Her family says she was due to continue on her working holiday to make presentations in London, France and Hong Kong.

Friday, April 26: Ms Sainsbury's sister, Khala, sets up a crowd-funding page on FundRazr, seeking donations from the public to help pay for legal fees.

Her family says she would "never do anything like she has been accused of". The fundraiser has a $15,000 goal and had reached almost $3500 by late Monday afternoon.

News Corp Australia

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