In 2017, 'Cocaine Cassie' dominated headlines for months. Now she's engaged.

Cassie Sainsbury is engaged to a fellow prisoner in Colombia’s notorious El Buen women’s prison.

Speaking to New Idea from inside the prison, Cassie, now 24, said she didn’t expect to find love during her time inside, but her relationship with her “funny, very outgoing” fiance Joli blossomed about nine months ago and they slowly fell in love.

Cassie said Joli proposed to following a soccer match at the prison.

Cassie Sainsbury appeared on 60 Minutes in 2017. Post continues below video.

Video by 60 Minutes

“I walked to the passageway and she had a poster on the wall which said, ‘Will you marry me?'” Cassie said.

“A huge amount of people were watching me. She doesn’t speak English, she was trying to learn English to propose. It was quite cute. I said yes, of course.”

Joli is set for release in January 2020, and Cassie could be out only a few months later if she makes parole.

Sainsbury was sentenced to six years behind bars in 2017 after she was caught with 5.8kg of cocaine hidden in her luggage as she tried to leave Bogota airport on April 12 of that year.

Sainsbury, dubbed “Cocaine Cassie” has completed 32 months in El Buen Pastor jail and has been granted a seven month sentence reduction, meaning that she could be eligible for parole in April.

Cassie Sainsbury’s last moments of freedom on CCTV. Post continues below video.

Video by Channel 7

What did Cassie Sainsbury do?

Sainsbury was facing 30 years in jail after she was caught trying to fly out of the country with cocaine stuffed into 18 headphones hidden in her luggage.

Her story changed multiple times before sentencing, but in a 60 Minutes interview she said she was offered $10,000 to transport what she thought was ‘documents’ from Colombia.

Cassie Sainsbury
Cassie Sainsbury's interview on 60 Minutes in 2017. Image via 60 Minutes.

When she discovered the 'documents' were in fact drugs, Sainsbury said she wanted out straight away, but after the safety of her family and fiancé was threatened by a man known only as Angelo, the Adelaide woman went through with the deal.

Evidence of the threats made against her existed, Sainsbury told 60 Minutes in 2017, with messages and photographs sitting in her Whatsapp account showing how she was forced to comply in a scheme she never thought involved drugs until it was too late.

The problem was, Sainsbury’s Android phone was locked with a number pattern. And she said she couldn't remember the passcode.

On top of this, Sainsbury's family were also telling different stories. On the same night in May 2017, her mother and her sister spoke to Channel Nine while her fiancé, father and uncle spoke to Channel Seven. There were claims she was “100 per cent innocent” and also claims that she was “fully aware of what she was doing”.

For months, the story changed and every now and again new ones would pop up: She was going to London. She was getting married. Her boyfriend was involved. He wasn’t involved. She was a sex worker in Sydney. Her business had failed. She needed the money. She was an unaware drug mule.

Then in November 2017, Sainsbury struck a plea deal with authorities and was sentenced to six years in prison.

What does Cassie Sainsbury's life look like?

When she was arrested and sent to prison her partner, Scott Broadbridge, vowed to stick by her, but on KIIS FM in 2018 Sainsbury confirmed that they had broken up.

cassie sainsbury scott broadbridge
Cassie confirmed she and Scott, left, broke up shortly after her sentencing. Image: Facebook.

"For quite some time things weren’t good between us… From the moment I got in here [jail] the relationship was doomed," she told Kyle and Jackie O.

"I broke up with Scott because I thought it was the best thing for me, and the best thing for his future as well."

By all accounts, Sainsbury has made many positive changes during her 27 months in prison.

She has embraced a regular exercise routine and last year competed in a beauty pageant to celebrate the annual Day of the Mercedes (the patron saint of prisons) dressed as 80s Madonna.

Since entering prison, Sainsbury has mostly kept herself busy as an English teacher, studying Spanish and taking classes with volunteer groups.

The director of the Michigan School in Bogota, Carlos Carrero, told News Corp Sainsbury was a "blessing" and wanted to turn her life around. Carrero said he would happily hire her after her release.

Cassie is no longer in contact with most of her old friends from Adelaide or with ex-boyfriend Broadbridge.

Now engaged, Cassie told New Idea she and Joli planned to get married, perhaps at the end of 2020, at a Colombian beach after they are both released from prison.

Joli, who is serving a term for theft, is due for release in January and Cassie is up for parole in April.

"Joli says she will wait for me, and she’ll come back and visit me. I’ll definitely be going back home after. I’d like to bring her back … I’d like that to be the plan," Cassie said.

A year after her daughter's arrest, Cassie's mother Lisa told Kyle and Jackie O she was surprised by the conditions of her daughter's prison accommodation, calling it a 'patio'.

"I had no idea what I was expecting when I walked in. I expected Patio 7 to be worse than it is.

"But it's like, and I say this but don't take it as lightly as it sounds, it's like a dormitory. When I go in and visit the girls, they are all very polite to me."

Lisa told New Idea she wasn't surprised to hear of her daughter's engagement, calling Joli a "lovely girl".

"I know how she feels about Cassie. As long as Cassie is happy, I’m happy," Lisa said.

00:00 / ???