'Cocaine Cassie' on engagement to her female lover and coming home – Daily Mail
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By Michael Pickering For Daily Mail Australia
‘Cocaine Cassie’ Sainsbury has opened up about her fresh engagement to her female lover Tatiana as she prepares to return to Australia after four long years locked up in a Colombian prison.
Exclusive new pictures show a loved-up Sainsbury hand-in-hand with Tatiana, a 33-year-old computer technician from Bogota, who she met through mutual friends on May 26 this year.
The pair have plans to marry in Colombia in March next year and live between there and Australia once Sainsbury is able to return to her home country.
Sainsbury spent three years in Bogota’s El Buen Pastor prison after she was convicted for smuggling 5.8kg of cocaine into the country in April 2017.
She is unable to return home as she completes the remainder of her sentence on parole while living in an apartment in Chapinero, a suburb of the Colombian capital.
‘It was a really unexpected relationship,’ Sainsbury told Daily Mail Australia from Bogota.
‘We had shared a group of friends and one night we went out for a birthday and we literally hit it off.’
‘It was a really unexpected relationship,’ Cassie Sainsbury told Daily Mail Australia of her engagement to Tatiana (left), a 33-year-old computer technician
The pair met through mutual friends while attending a birthday party. ‘We literally hit it off,’ Sainsbury said
Tatiana surprised Sainsbury by proposing to her during a getaway to Cartagena on the Colombian coast
After a short romance, Sainsbury said Tatiana further surprised her by proposing to her during a getaway to Cartagena on the Colombian coast this month.
‘She put a ring on it!’ Sainsbury said of the engagement. ‘She’d been planning for a while trying to find a ring that she thought was perfect for me and in the end she found it.
‘She took me to Cartagena and organised a small, romantic dinner at a cosy little restaurant on the beachfront. She asked me to marry her there.’
In July this year Sainsbury told Daily Mail Australia her new lover was unaware of her past and why she had been headline news in Australia, but that has now changed.
‘I shared everything with her about everything,’ she revealed.
‘Basically [Tatiana] said she wasn’t going to judge me on my past, she was really mature about the whole situation.
‘I feel like I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. It’s nice to feel like I can be myself with no judgement from someone who is always there for me.’
‘Tatiana said she wasn’t going to judge me on my past, she was really mature about the whole situation,’ Sainsbury said of telling her lover about her criminal past
The pair have plans to marry in Colombia in March next year and live between there and Australia, once Sainsbury is able to return to her home country
‘She’d been planning for a while trying to find a ring that she thought was perfect for me and in the end she found it,’ Sainsbury said of Tatiana’s marriage proposal
Sainsbury said she wants to return to her hometown of Adelaide as soon as possible but delays in the Colombian legal system caused by the incursion of Covid-19 into the country mean she is still waiting on the decision of a judge before she is allowed to return home.
‘We’ll get married and then the plan is to go back home for a while, sort things out there, see my family and then make a decision about what the big plan will be.
‘She’s never been to Australia.
‘We’ll probably end up between Australia and Colombia because obviously her family is here so it will be like, some time here, some time there type of thing.’
Sainsbury, whose Australian accent has been transformed by a Latin lilt after her four-and-a-half years in Colombia, has undergone many changes since her arrest in April 2017 when cocaine packaged inside 18 headphone boxes was found in her suitcase.
Her preference for serious relationships with women, rather than men, is one such change.
Sainsbury became engaged to a fellow female inmate, Joli Pico, while in prison, before her current relationship with Tatiana once she’d been released.
‘It has always been something there,’ she said of her attraction to women. ‘I had relationships like that [in Australia]… but not as serious.’
Sainsbury’s plan to return to Australia is waiting on the decision of a Colombian judge about when she will be allowed to travel out of the country
‘I want to move forward but trust me there are still days where I ask myself, ‘why me?”
Sainsbury said the lowest point of her whole ordeal since she was first arrested was when she became seriously ill with bacteria in her stomach while inside El Buen Pastor prison.
‘When I became sick I was taken out of prison into hospital and that is what saved me.’
While in prison she was locked in a two-metre by two-metre cell with up to five other inmates and says she still has nightmares about it.
Sainsbury said she is focused on putting her past behind her rather than trying to prove the claims she made in a 60 Minutes program in April 2020 that pressure from a Brazilian drug lord had caused her to undertake the cocaine smuggling mission.
She claimed back then that a mysterious man named ‘Angelo Sanchez’ allegedly threatened to kill her mother and then-boyfriend, Scott Broadbridge, unless she committed the crime.
‘I want to move forward but trust me there are still days where I ask myself, “why me?”‘
Sainsbury said the perception of her by Australians does affect her. ‘I’m not sure what to expect, to be honest,’ she said of returning to her home country
‘I feel like if I keep trying to bring up the past, I’m never going to be able to move forward. I just want to be able to put all this behind me and live a normal life, Sainsbury said, pictured above at the time of her arrest in Colombia in April 2017
‘I feel like if I keep trying to bring up the past, I’m never going to be able to move forward. I just want to be able to put all this behind me and live a normal life.’
But Sainsbury said she does take note of the perceptions Australians have about her.
‘I still care. Believe it or not, the comments people make obviously affect me,’ she confessed.
‘I try not to let it affect me too much, I know there are a lot of mixed opinions about me. I can’t tell someone not to have their own opinion.’
She said she is concerned about whether she will be able to readjust to life in Australia, where she has said she wishes to establish a personal training business and is open to reality television offers.
‘I’m not sure what to expect, to be honest.’
A love of Colombian culture and people was one of the positive things to come from her experience since she’d been out of prison, Sainsbury said.
‘Through everything I went through, I learnt to take the best out of the experience I could… meeting new people, maturing, learning more about myself.
‘To make it feel like it was not a complete loss of time, using what I learnt from the experience to become the person I’ve become.’
‘Through everything I went through, I learnt to take the best out of the experience I could,’ she said
Published by Associated Newspapers Ltd
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