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  • 16 Years Beauty queen tells of Thai jail hell

    Former Miss South Africa finalist Vanessa Goosen, the Eastern Cape beauty who was freed two weeks ago after spending 16 years in a Thai jail for running drugs, has returned home.

    Speaking at OR Tambo International airport in Johannesburg yesterday, she said she knew her release would come some day because she had never given up hoping.

    "But when it eventually happened, I just couldn't believe it," Goosen told eNews.

    Asked about her daughter, Felicia, who she gave birth to in jail and who turned 16 at the weekend, she said she had been devastated when the child was taken from her at the age of three and sent home to be fostered in South Africa.

    "My heart was torn apart," she said. I never thought I could make it."

    Goosen, 38, who has always maintained her innocence, said she would never forget her experience.

    "Many stories have been printed, many things have been said. [People] have their own opinion, whatever they want to say but I just want to say that, yes I was in prison for 16 years, six months and 16 days and it's an experience I will never forget.

    "And it's an experience that I want to share with others: that they should be very careful who they mingle with."

    Speaking from the family home in Cradock, her younger sister, Melissa, said she was bursting with excitement and confused emotions.

    "I can confirm Vanessa is in Johannesburg, and she is with her daughter. The plan is we will re-unite there, probably this weekend," she said.

    "We are asking the media to respect that we need some privacy with her.

    "I am extremely excited. I feel like exploding, like crying, like screaming. There are so many emotions, so much lost time to make up for."

    Melissa said she and Vanessa had stayed in regular contact by writing letters to each other. Then about two years ago it became possible to send e-mails.
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