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The Star

Wednesday August 20 2014

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Drug-smuggling couple face jail in Chch and Peru By Max Towle A SOUTH African drug-smuggling couple are expected to be jailed in Christchurch and Peru. Laura Cilliers, 32, was caught at Christchurch Airport with $1.2 million worth of heroin on June 15. She will be sentenced in the district court today after admitting a charge of importing the class A drug. In a new twist, The Star has learned her newly-married husband, Sydney Cilliers, was caught smuggling drugs in a Peruvian airport a month before her arrest. A May 19 release from the Peruvian National Police said Sydney Cilliers, 32, had been arrested at Jorge Chavez Airport, Lima, trying to smuggle cocaine onto a flight to Amsterdam. The class A drug was found concealed inside his luggage. He faces up to 15 years imprisonment in a squalid Peruvian prison. South African media has reported the couple, who were homeless and depended on handouts, married in Middelburg, South Africa in December. The prison in which Sydney Cilliers is currently held has been called “harsh” and a place where inmates have to pay for things like toothpaste, bedding, food, and clothing. Reports said he had nothing except the clothes on his back and no help from the outside world. In Christchurch, Customs has wrapped up its investigation into Laura Cilliers. A Customs spokeswoman said Cilliers’ motive for smuggling heroin was money, but said there was no evidence to suggest which country the drugs were destined for. She would not say if Sydney

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looked ill when she arrived at Christchurch Airport from Singapore on June 15. Surgery was required at Christchurch Hospital to remove waterproof bags of heroin pellets from her body. In total, 99 pellets Sydney and Laura Cilliers weighing 1.2kg, and Cilliers’ arrest had played a part in worth $1.2 million, Customs’ investigation, but said in were found in her possession. a statement: “We have forwarded She spent 13 days in hospital beinformation to overseas agencies fore being transferred to Christchto allow them to continue any inurch Women’s Prison. vestigation they may have started A South African consulate in relation to this importation.” said he had met with Laura CilLaura Cilliers’ lawyer Craig Ruliers three times since her arrest, ane would not say if his client had including a visit to prison, and the made contact with her husband High Commission was providing since her arrest. her with ongoing support. Mr Ruane told The Star he Last month, the New Zealand would ask for a sentence of comHerald revealed Laura Cilliers was munity work and supervision. on the run from South Africa over “But obviously that is unlikely. Laura will almost certainly receive drugs charges. South African media has reportjail time,” he said. ed Laura and Sydney Cilliers, and He said she would likely be dea third man named Walter, were ported back to South Africa once she had served her sentence. arrested after being caught in posCustoms officials said she session of marijuana in March.

By Emma-Jane McLennan LYTTELTON POLICE have been threatened with another arson. A call was made to the Fire Service at 5pm on Sunday, from a public phone box on London St. The caller threatened to set police property alight. Lyttelton police were alerted, and detectives are looking into the case. Sergeant Gary Manch said it could be linked to the torching of two marked police vehicles at the Lyttelton station last year. One vehicle was written off af-

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THE MAN who stabbed his estranged wife to death while her young daughter was in the house has lost an appeal against his sentence. In July, 2012, Kaiapoi market gardener Paul Gottermeyer entered the 24-year-old woman’s Christchurch home and slashed her throat. Her daughter saw Gottermeyer enter the house and later told police: “Mummy did bleed everywhere . . . and mummy scream.” Gottermeyer was a mental

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THREE CHRISTCHURCH men allegedly took stolen quad bikes on a joyride from Dunsandel to Lincoln last week. Police say the quad bikes were stolen from a Dunsandel farm in the early hours of the morning on August 11. Three unemployed men in their early 20s were arrested at a Christchurch address later that day. One of the men was believed to have previously worked at another farm near the one from which the

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health outpatient. He appealed against his sentence of life imprisonment with a minimum term of imprisonment of 12 years by arguing his mental illness caused the attack. But a judgement released by the Supreme Court yesterday dismissed the appeal. “It has not been shown that there was any error of principle in the Court of Appeal’s approach and no miscarriage of justice arises,” the judgement said. • Bodybuilder jailed, page 4

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ter it went up in flames, while the other sustained heat damage to its exterior. Sergeant Manch said police had an idea of who they thought the culprit was, but not enough evidence to charge them. “Reading between the lines you could say it’s the same person, but you could also say it’s not.” He said that police are being open-minded in light of a recent series of arsons throughout the city. If you see any suspicious activity or have information, phone the Lyttelton police station on 378 0200.

Killer loses appeal

By Tom Doudney

NO PARADISE: A slum in Peru; jails also are a tough environment.

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quad bikes were stolen. Sergeant Chris Jones said one of the bikes had been left in a ditch halfway between Dunsandel and Lincoln, while the other two had been abandoned on the side of the road on the outskirts of Lincoln after the men came into contact with a Lincoln University security guard. “When the security guard came across these boys he gave them a fright and they took off,” Sergeant Jones said. The men had their first court appearance last week and were remanded on bail.

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