Sobbing with joy and disbelief, Schapelle Corby’s overwhelmed mother collapsed into her arms as they finally reunited on Australian soil.
‘It was funny in a way, because Schapelle had to comfort me,’ laughs Rosleigh Rose, still delighted to have her daughter home free from Bali at last.
‘I was in shock and I just broke down. It’s all a bit of a blur. I can’t even remember what time it was.
‘I’d been watching TV going: “Oh my God, oh my God,” when Schapelle’s plane landed and she left the airport with all that security. And then next minute she was in the room with me!’
For the convicted drug smuggler – and for her close-knit family – it marked the end of an emotional ordeal that began with Schapelle’s arrest at Denpasar Airport on October 8, 2004.
What was meant to be a carefree holiday turned into a long-running nightmare after customs officials discovered 4.2kg of cannabis hidden in the former beauty student’s boogie board bag.
Schapelle and her supporters protested her innocence through a tumultuous trial, several appeals, years of imprisonment, her battle with jail-induced mental illness and eventual parole.
The final chapter came with the 39-year-old’s deportation from Bali and the dramatic security circus surrounding her return to Australia with sister Mercedes on May 28.
Now it is all over, Rosleigh can exclusively reveal what went on behind the scenes when she quietly welcomed Schapelle home for good with other close family at a Brisbane hotel.
‘Schapelle had to hug me and calm me down,’ recalls the down-to-earth Gold Coast mother-of-six.
‘I didn’t think I was going to break down, but I did. I howled out loud and started dry retching. I got so emotional, I needed a minute to myself in a separate room, but then I was right. I just had to get it out of my system.’
Rosleigh, who has just greeted her seventh grandchild, says Schapelle has already met her newest nephew, three-week-old baby Pejro. In fact, it was one of the first things on her wish list.
‘Oh, she absolutely loved him,’ chuckles the 63-year-old Corby matriarch, meanwhile denying reports that her daughter may be pregnant with ‘close friend’ Ben Panangian’s child.
‘Schapelle was stoked to cuddle little Pejro and I know she would love a baby of her own one day.
For the full story, see this week’s New Idea – Out now.
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