“He forced my clothes off.” What we learnt from Cassie Sainsbury's 60 Minutes interview.

After two years, 11 months and 21 days in a Colombian prison, Australian drug smuggler Cassie Sainsbury is a free woman.

But her first interview after her release was not an easy one. The 24-year-old spoke to journalist Liam Bartlett in a 60 Minutes interview aired on Sunday night – the very same journalist she admits to lying to following her arrest in 2017.

“Everybody makes mistakes,” she told the program. “I’ve grown up a lot. I learnt a lot about myself, and people. I learnt not to trust people so much. It’s been a massive learning curve. But everything that I’ve been through in prison, everything that I learnt, it’s made me a stronger person. I wouldn’t change it, because it’s made me who I am today.”

WATCH: Cassie being interviewed on 60 Minutes. Post continues after video.

Video via Nine

In 2017, the former personal trainer from South Australia was caught with 5.8kg of cocaine concealed in headphones and was initially sentenced to 21 years. After a judge accepted a plea deal, her sentence was reduced to six years, and earlier this week, she was released on parole due to concerns of overcrowding in prisons amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Home detention was approved for prisoners who have completed 40 per cent of their sentences, with Cassie now being ordered to spend the next 36 months paroled in the country.

While behind bars, Sainsbury split from her fiancé and found new love with fellow prisoner ‘Jolie,’ who was incarcerated for theft, and is also due to be released soon.

The couple dated for nine months before Jolie proposed to her in front of their fellow cellmates.

Cassie found love with fellow prisoner Jolie while serving her sentence. Image: Nine.

"It was the least thing that I expected to find in prison. It started as a friendship and then out of nowhere it turned into a relationship," Cassie told 60 Minutes.

Determined to show how prison has changed her, Cassie has come clean about the lies she told Australia when she was arrested and going through court.

Previously, a then 22-year-old Cassie was adamant in an interview with 60 Minutes she worked solely as a receptionist for a brothel in Sydney's west in late 2016.

Cassandra Sainsbury during her detention with 5.8 kilos of cocaine at the International Airport the Dorado, in Bogota, Image: EPA/Col Anti-narcotics Police.

Now, she says that while she initially applied for a job on the front desk, her bosses convinced her to also do sex work.


"I wasn't comfortable doing it, I didn't like doing it. But it was sort of like... what if," she said.

When she decided the job wasn't for her, Cassie says her bosses introduced her to a mystery man who offered her work as a courier.

After a few months of working for the man, who Cassie says goes by the name of "Joshua," she accepted a $10,000 international job from him to transport 'documents'.

In April 2017, Cassie boarded a flight to Bogota, Colombia.

After previously referring to the mastermind behind the drug operation as simply 'Angelo,' Cassie has now revealed his full identity: 39-year-old Brazilian drug lord named 'Angelo Sanchez'.

"I wouldn't say that I was lying [previously] but I wasn't giving you everything," she admitted to 60 Minutes.

Cassie says that after meeting Angelo in Colombia, he told her that she "had to do what he wanted," and that she "didn't have a choice."

Cassie has admitted to 60 Minutes that she lied to them in a previous interview. Image: Nine.

"And then he gave me a drink and it was almost like, I felt like I was getting drunk, I was getting tipsy. From there, he basically forced my clothes off," an emotional Cassie told Liam Bartlett, nodding when she was asked if he then assaulted her.

Cassie remains adamant she wasn't a willing drug mule, and claims she only realised she was being asked to transport drugs when she arrived in Bogota and met 'Angelo.'


"He simply had the threat above me that if I didn't do what I was being asked to do, it was my family. I couldn't make someone else pay for my mistakes," she told 60 Minutes. "He threatened to kill my sister - they had photos. They sent me two photos of Scott (her ex-fiance.)"

Cassie and Scott
Cassie and her ex-fiancé Scott. Image: Nine.

Cassie says she allowed Angelo to pack her bag before arriving at Bogota International airport to board a flight to London. At immigration, she was arrested.

Bartlett questions why she was didn't tell anyone of authority about the rape, or the threats - which according to Cassie's timeline she received just hours before the arrest.

"It's not that easy. It's not as easy as saying 'this person did it' because they don't believe anybody," said Cassie.

In court, Cassie said she was acting under duress but couldn't produce the evidence she claims she had on her phone because she 'couldn't remember her password.'

She still maintains this is the case, breaking down in tears during the interview telling Bartlett: "I know it sounds stupid."

Cassie says what happened to her was a combination of being desperate, stupid and wanting to try and do something to get ahead.

"But I came out worse. And I lost three years of my life," she told 60 Minutes.

Feature image: Channel Nine.