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My drug mule ex-wife who died in Portuguese jail turned from ‘normal housewife into cocaine smuggler’

THE ex-husband of a cocaine-smuggling gran who died in a Portuguese jail believes she was "led astray" to go from a "normal housewife" to a drug mule.

Susan Clarke, 72, died in a Portuguese prison hospital earlier this month after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

In 2019, the OAP and husband Roger Clarke, 73, were caged for eight years after they were caught with £1million of cocaine on a cruise ship in Lisbon in December, 2018.

Her ex-husband John Smeathers, 74, who was married to Susan for 20 years, has accused Clarke of "leading her astray".

Mr Smeathers had lived with his then-wife in the upmarket suburb of Cheadle Hulme, Greater Manchester.

He told Sun Online: "She didn't deserve to meet the guy she met.


"She claimed they were innocent which is pretty difficult to believe. Without a shadow of a doubt, he led her astray.

"Before she met him, she was just a normal Cheadle Hulme housewife."

As Susan's condition worsened she was granted a last visit from Roger in jail and was allowed to see him through Perspex window, it is reported.

They had been caged two years ago and sent to separate jails.

A source had told the Sunday Mirror: "She had a lump in her throat which meant she couldn’t actually speak.

“She was battling breast cancer but the doctors in Portugal decided that there was nothing they could do for her, so they stopped her treatment.

She didn't deserve to meet the guy she met.

Susan's ex-husband

"She was in so much pain. Roger seems to think they had won a battle to come back to the UK to, so he’s devastated that she wasn’t well enough to make the move.”

Mr Smeathers said his ex-wife had been in a hospital wing "for the best part of a year".

He added: "She had been in remission for cancer but we don't know exactly what the cause of death was, she was very poorly.

"Two of my kids went to see her three months ago as we were given the impression she was at death's door.


"But that wasn't the case but she was very ill. The children are upset that she didn't manage to come home."

He added: "Her death has not come as a huge shock but not unexpected."

Susan had previously been in a 10ft by 10ft cell with three other criminals in Lisbon’s women’s jail EP Tires.

Her husband has been serving the same term in another jail in Lisbon before being transferred a lower-security site.


They were arrested when the Marco Polo liner they were on arrived at Lisbon from the Caribbean in December, 2018.

The pensioners had been in the middle of a dream £6,800 Caribbean cruise when Portuguese officials were tipped off by UK cops.

Police found 20lb of cocaine in the linings of four suitcases.

Both claim they were duped into carrying the drugs by criminals despite being previously jailed in Norway in 2010 for smuggling large quantities of cannabis.

Roger claimed he believed he was carrying exotic fruit which could be sold at Harrods.

They said the Brit couple were drug mules who used four cruises in two years to smuggle narcotics for £26,500 a time.

Susan previously revealed how she had lost nearly three stone after being locked up, and feared she would die in prison after developing breast cancer.

She told The Sunday People: "I may never get out of here alive and there’s no way I can reduce my sentence now.

“We were made an example of but I’ve been handed a death sentence. My worry is that I’ll never be free and I’ll be leaving here in a box.”

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