Former drugs mule Michaella McCollum to receive payout over photo publication

She alleged invasion of privacy over use of image said to be from Facebook account

 Michaella McCollum. Photograph: RTÉ

Michaella McCollum. Photograph: RTÉ

 

Former drugs mule Michaella McCollum is to receive an undisclosed payout for newspaper publication of an intimate photograph.

The 25-year-old, from Dungannon, Co Tyrone, sued the owners of the Daily Star for alleged invasion of privacy. Proceedings issued at the High Court in Belfast also claimed breach of the Data Protection Act over the image said to have been taken from her Facebook account.

McCollum’s lawyers contended that the partially pixelated image was private and published in 2016 without her consent.

Solicitor Kevin Winters, of KRW Law, confirmed an out-of-court settlement was reached in the lawsuit. He said: “I’m happy to say Michaella is pleased with the outcome. Her decision to take a case has been vindicated.

“The damages figure is very satisfactory and all costs have been paid.”

No apology is being made under the terms of the resolution.

In 2013 McCollum was caught with Scottish woman Melissa Reid attempting to smuggle £1.5m (€1.8m) worth of cocaine out of Peru. They initially denied the charge, claiming that they had been forced to become mules.

The pair later admitted to drug smuggling and were jailed for six years and eight months. Both women were released in 2016.

McCollum is pursuing similar privacy actions against a number of other media organisations.

Mr Winters added: “We are confident that all other contentious publications, both print and online, will now be resolved without recourse to formal litigation.”