Susan Clarke, 72, and her husband Roger, 73, were caught smuggling 20lb of cocaine in the linings of four suitcases on the Marco Polo liner cruise ship. They got arrested as it sailed into Lisbon from the Caribbean in 2018.
Susan, a former secretary, was handed an eight-year sentence but only got to serve two as she lost the battle against cancer, dying alone in her Portuguese jail cell.
A source said doctors in Portugal decided “there was nothing they could do for her” – so they left her to complete her sentence in the EP Tires prison in Lisbon, in a rat-infested 10x10ft cell with three other offenders, without treatment.
EP Tires is home to 400 female prisoners, including killers, who are put to work making clothes, carpets or other items; given lessons in home economics, languages and maternal care, and, according to Roger, only allowed outside, into a concrete yard, for two hours a day. “It’s bleak,” the devastated widower said.
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The gran, who had eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild, saw her husband, who was locked up in a separate jail, one last time four weeks ago, insiders confirmed. “She was given one last visit with Roger
“They saw each other through a Perspex window.
“She had a lump in her throat which meant she couldn’t actually speak.
They described Susan’s situation, “left to die in a foreign prison with no loved ones around her”, as unpleasant and torturous: “She was in so much pain.”
The couple, from Chatham, Kent, declared to be “completely innocent” at the time of the crime. They claimed they believed to be smuggling exotic fruit, not cannabis.
But they had years earlier, in 2010, been caught smuggling 240kg of cannabis into Norway.
After serving time for that first crime, they moved to a villa in Guardamar, on Spain’s Costa Blanca.
“I can understand why people might believe we are guilty but we are not,” said Susan.