Schapelle Corby watches the media coverage from what appears to be a hotel room.
Schapelle Corby watches the media coverage from what appears to be a hotel room.

Was this Schapelle Corby’s you-beaut ute getaway?

WAS this Schapelle Corby's you-beaut ute getaway?

A utility, decorated as a tradie's vehicle - captured by a Courier-Mail photographer - is thought to have whisked the freed drug smuggler away from Brisbane Airport on Sunday, moments after a decoy motorcade left the terminal.

The ute - branded with an electrical business name - looks to contain Corby's celebrity bodyguard John McLeod and a man dressed in hi-vis gear, who later appeared in an Instagram video posted by Corby mocking the media.

It can also be revealed that Mercedes Corby was admitted to hospital with stress on Monday, following her sister's dramatic deportation from Bali at the weekend and ­secret-service-style security operation to keep her hidden. She was released from hospital yesterday.

Photos taken by The ­Courier-Mail show the white Toyota ute with McLeod and the other man inside exiting the VIP tunnel at Brisbane Airport at 5.39am on Sunday, about 30 minutes after Corby's Malindo Air flight from Bali - which she and Mercedes switched to at the last minute from a Virgin ­service - landed.

The tradie’s ute which might have been Schapelle Corby’s actual getaway vehicle. Picture Nigel Hallett
The tradie’s ute which might have been Schapelle Corby’s actual getaway vehicle. Picture Nigel Hallett

A motorcade of nine black Mercedes vans left the airport three minutes earlier and split up in an elaborate scheme to throw tailing media crews off the scent.

The photos suggest that Corby may have been in the back of the ute, which had signage proclaiming it as ­belonging to "Luke's Electrical". The Courier-Mail could not find a business matching that name.

A phone call to the mobile number written on the ute was answered by a man who said his name was Nathan.

The man hung up and ­subsequent calls went to a messagebank with no ­reference to an electrical business.

The ute is believed to have taken Corby to a secret ­location in Brisbane, and she remains in hiding.

On Monday night, she used her new Instagram ­account to post helicopter footage from Channel 7's Sunrise program purportedly showing an aerial view of the car in which she was leaving Brisbane Airport.

The camera then pans to show Schapelle giving the camera a cheeky look, clearly taking glee at the fact that she had managed to pull the wool over the media's eyes on her whereabouts.

"There's the convoy. 'Pelle's being chased by helicopter," Mercedes, who shot the video, is heard to say in the video before letting out a chuckle.

"In that car, but ..." she says before panning to Schapelle in the flesh " ... there we are."

Mercedes also posted the video on her ­Instagram account, mocking the media.

"Doing what they do best ... factual news reporting!!!" she wrote sarcastically.

The video, which is the first time the freed drug smuggler has shown her face since arriving home, appears to have been shot in a hotel room.

The caption thanks McLeod, who has acted as a bodyguard for celebrities including the Dalai Lama, Adele and Roger Federer, for his role in organising Schapelle's return to Australia following her near-13 years held in Bali.

A security expert estimated the elaborate security operation would have cost more than $40,000, heightening speculation the Corby family may have inked a ­lucrative interview deal.

But Corby's mother Rosleigh Rose has denied there is a deal.

She is due to appear in Tweed Heads Court this Friday to fight an apprehended violence application brought by police on behalf of former surf star Trudy Todd, who was Mercedes' ex-partner in running an ill-fated Coolangatta bar.

News Corp Australia

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