Speaking from the prison where she has spent the last 11 months, Nicole Reyes has told WalesOnline how the thought of spending 30 years in jail for something she says she didn’t do has led her to thoughts of suicide.
Nicole was arrested when her husband Jorge, 38, died in a car crash on July 9 last year in the Dominican Republic.
But Nicole said she has never been charged during that time.
Nicole has spoken to WalesOnline for the first time from prison in the Santiago part of the island.
In an emotional call, Nicole revealed how the only thing keeping her going is her family at home in Cardiff and pleaded for help.
She said: “I just want somebody to recognise that I’m here for something I didn’t do… I don’t want to spend 30 years of my life in jail for something I didn’t do. I just want somebody to recognise that and to help me because there’s no proof, there’s no evidence, it was just accusations.”
She said her family paid Jorge’s family £40,000 following legal advice and that they withdrew their accusation of homicide, but she said the courts have continued with the case.
Nicole, 37, said: “They said there’s sufficient amount of evidence but there’s no evidence. I just want help and for someone to look into this to see that I’m here for something I didn’t do. I need help and I just can’t see any way out.”
She said: “I’ve just got to get home for the sake of my family, my daughter, my son, everyone. I just want to be home with my family so much. That’s the only thing keeping me going.
“I’ve thought so many times of committing suicide. I know that sounds crazy, that it sounds stupid, but I really have considered it. I know I can’t for the sake of my family. My children need me and I need them.”
Nicole said she wakes up every day and can’t believe where she is, and what has happened.
She said the bell sounds at 6.30am when they have to get up and take a cold shower.
Nicole, who worked for Thomas Cook on the Caribbean island, said they are allowed outside for two-and-a-half hours in the morning and two-and-a-half hours in the afternoon and are back in their cells from 5.30pm until the following morning.
Nicole said there are courses and activities for the 68 prisoners but that she has no motivation to do anything.
Living on a diet of crackers, milk and yoghurt, Nicole said every day is the same and that her health has been affected by the stress of the situation. She said her family have sent a lot of money for medication and tests because of problems with her hormones, intestines and stomach.
Nicole also explained how she has not had a chance to grieve for Jorge.
She said: “The problem I have is I need to grieve but I can’t grieve while I’m in here. I can’t fall to pieces. I need to be strong to get through this.”
She said she and Jorge were constantly together and had a “love-hate relationship”.
The mother of two said: “He used to come to work with me, the hairdressers, the nail salon, always with me. I could never go shopping alone he’d have to be with me. We were just constantly together. So as you can appreciate, to be alone now is very, very difficult.”
She said they would argue over stupid things because of their different cultures, but said at the same time they loved each other and couldn’t be anywhere without holding hands or touching each other.
She said she thought she was going to spend the rest of her life with him.
Nicole said: “There was so much love between us, I have never in my life loved somebody as much as I loved him… I know that if he knew what I was going through right now he’d be so mad.”
Nicole thanked her parents, Jeannette and Mike Clements, her teenage children Leah and Luke, and the rest of her family and friends at home in Rumney for their support.
Nicole said: “It keeps me strong to think that there are so many people that care back there who want me home and I just want to say thank you and I love my family very much and I just can’t wait to get home to them.”
Nicole’s next court hearing is set for June 24.
A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said: “We have been providing consular assistance to Ms Reyes and her family since her detention and we continue to do so. Stephen Doughty MP and Ms Reyes’ parents met FCO officials in April to discuss the case.
“We cannot interfere in the judicial process of another country, and must respect their systems just as we expect them to respect the UK’s laws and legal processes.”