Jodie Power-Ripley, left, of Byron Bay, with accused drug smuggler Schapelle Corby at her Balinese jail cell.
Jodie Power-Ripley, left, of Byron Bay, with accused drug smuggler Schapelle Corby at her Balinese jail cell.

Corby friend 'relieved, discusted'

By MEGAN KINNINMENT

ONE OF Schapelle Corby's closest friends said she was 'relieved, but disgusted' after hearing her friend had escaped a death sentence, but may face life imprisonment if found guilty of drug smuggling.

"I'm so sickened by this. How can they do this to someone who is so innocent," Jodie Power-Ripley said.

"Schapelle wants to have children, she wants to live a normal life, not spend her life in a seedy Indonesian prison for something she didn't do."

Ms Power-Ripley, who is back in her home town of Byron Bay after six months visiting her friend every day in jail, received the news from Schapelle's sister Mercedes just minutes after the announcement in Denpasar District Court that prosecutors had asked for a life sentence.

"Mercedes said Schapelle was strong in court, but she has been beside herself," Ms Power-Ripley said.

"She is emotionally, mentally and physically drained from all of this.

"I can't see this as a hopeful decision. None of this should be happening in the first place."

Ms Power-Ripley returned to Byron Bay a week ago, exhausted herself, and said she couldn't face the moment when the prosecution's sentence request was handed down.

Jodie, whom Schapelle has called her 'rock' of support throughout her Bali jail ordeal, said she feared she would break down and be of no help to her friend at all if she had been in court yesterday.

"I came back because I didn't know if I could be strong enough for her, and she needs me to be strong, not breaking down," Ms Power-Ripley said.

But, while back in Australia, Jodie will keep lobbying for Schapelle's release, with banners being organised to gather Byron Bay support and a trip planned to lobby Prime Minister John Howard himself.

"I'll fight to the end for her."



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