Accused Aussie drug mule Cassie Sainsbury allegedly told a Sydney brothel Madam that she had cancer and was forced into sex work to make ends meet.
Speaking with The Daily Telegraph, Pamela Feranchi, who employed the 22-year-old under the pseudonym “Claudia” at 220 Gentleman’s Club just months before her arrest in Colombia, says that Sainsbury was ‘depressed’ and drowning in debt.
"Sometimes she would cry in the corner eating pizza, chips and gravy,” she told the publication.
“She wasn’t the popular girl, God love her, she was a bit tubby, even though she was a personal trainer.”
Feranchi claims that Sainsbury told her she had recently been diagnosed with cancer and was working as a prostitute as a means to support her unemployed fiancé.
“She was a complete mess, you could tell she did not want to be there but she had big money problems,” she said.
“She told some of the other girls her mother was no longer alive and me that she had been diagnosed with cancer, she broke my heart.”
This comes just days after a fellow colleague at the brothel told 9News that Sainsbury had tried to profit financially from her mother’s death.
“She said her mum was suffering from MS and was in a private hospital in Sydney and that she didn’t have private health insurance but Cassandra had done a deal with the hospital for reduced fees, but she’d run up quite a debt,” she said.
“Then… she had a phone calls saying that her mum was dying, and then another call saying her mum had died, passed away from MS… all while she was at the brothel.”
The colleague continued, claiming that many donated money towards covering the cost of Sainsbury’s mother’s funeral, only to find out she was still alive when news of the drug bust broke.
“We’ve been really scammed,” she said.
“It’s not like she just mentioned it once or twice, Cassandra would go on and on about it.
“I think she’s manipulative, I think she’s a compulsive liar and I think she’s conniving,” she added.
“Don’t be fooled by the tears and the blonde hair and the big boobs. She’s not this small town girl from Adelaide.”
Sainsbury remains behind bars at El Buen Pastor women’s prison in Bogota where she is awaiting a conviction for drug smuggling charges.
She was arrested at El Dorado International Airport on April 12 after 5.8kg of cocaine was allegedly found hidden inside 18 headphone packages in her suitcase.
This article originally appeared on New Idea.