She wanted out as soon as she found out the ‘documents’ she’d been hired to carry were actually cocaine, accused drug smuggler Cassie Sainsbury told Channel Nine’s 60 Minutes in last night’s episode.
But, after the safety of her family and fiance was threatened, the 22-year-old Adelaide woman went through with the deal: She attempted to leave Colombia with a suitcase packed with 5.8 kg of cocaine and was arrested at Bogota International Airport in April 12.
Evidence of the threats made against her exists, Sainsbury says, 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 is, Sainsbury’s Andriod phone is locked with a number pattern. And she says she can’t remember the passcode.
“I haven’t used it for nearly six months. I’m not going to remember a pattern,” Sainsbury told reporter Liam Bartlett during an exclusive interview filmed at the prison and shown on television last night.
“There is evidence. I’ve been trying to remember [the password], but that’s all I can do – try to remember it.”
Bartlett wasn’t convinced, pointing out: “I don’t know another millennial who has forgotten their password.”
“I’m sure if you were in prison for five months you would forget,” Sainsbury replied.
Sainsbury said the man she was dealing with in Colombia - a man she calls Angelo - threatened to kill her family and her fiance Scott if she refused to smuggle the cocaine.
She knew the threats were legitimate when he began sending her photographs of her family, completely unaware they were being watched, back in Australia.
"I received a photo of Scott and a friend leaving the gym. I received a photo of my sister getting her youngest kid out of the car. I received a photo of my mum getting out of the car. And that hit home quite hard," she said.
"The fact that I received photos of them while they’re doing normal activities in Adelaide - that for me said they weren’t safe."
The problem is, Sainsbury's story has changed and changed again.
Despite being interrogated at the time of her arrest, and calling her mother in Australia from the prison, Sainsbury said nothing - to the judge or her mother - about the threats until now, at the same time as she's saying the evidence is inside the phone she cannot not open.
"Don't you think that's an incredibly convenient thing to have happened?" Bartlett questioned.
Is Cassie Sainsbury the new Schapellle Corby? Post continues below.
Initially, Sainsbury said she thought she was accepting a job as a legitimate courier transporting documents for $10,000 plus flights. She thought she was going to London or Europe.
Though she did have moments of suspicion that the scheme was dangerous, she said she also had "outstanding bills" and decided to take the risk. At the last minute, the plans were changed and she was sent to Colombia where the "mastermind" Angelo coerced her into carrying the drugs.
"I didn't know of the quantity. I didn't know how it was hidden. I didn't know anything. All I know is it was a package," Sainsbury told 60 Minutes.
Since her arrest, the 22-year-old has also been accused of being a prostitute and ripping off a country tennis club in South Australia - allegations she also denied in the Channel 9 interview.
"I'm not a prostitute. There was some work relating with Club 220 but it wasn't prostitution," Sainsbury said. She said she worked at the western Sydney brothel for a period of "four or five months", but as a receptionist not a sex worker.
Interestingly, Sainsbury refused to divulge any more detail about her time at Club 220, implying that her work in Australia was linked to the case in Colombia - the first time this has been publicly announced.
Sainsbury is facing up to 30 years in jail if found guilty of trying to smuggle drugs out of the country and no date has yet been set for her trial.