A British woman convicted of having sex on a Dubai beach was "in bits" as she faced spending three months in jail.
Michelle Palmer, 36, of Oakham, Rutland, and Vince Acors, 34, of Bromley, south east London, are appealing over the prison sentences which were handed down by a judge in Dubai.
The pair were arrested on Jumeirah Beach at about 1am on July 5 - hours after meeting at a champagne brunch at a five-star hotel in the emirate. As well as three-month prison sentences, they were fined £155 and issued with deportation orders during the hearing at Dubai's Court of First Instance.
The pair, who remain on bail, were convicted of having unmarried sex, public indecency and being drunk in public. A former colleague of Palmer revealed that the ordeal has affected her friend's mental health.
"She is suffering from depression, panic attacks and anxiety, of course she is," the friend said. "She has been out from the place where she is living once in the past three months. And that was for her birthday because her friends made her go out. She can't go anywhere because the press will follow her."
The woman, who answered Palmer's mobile phone but wished to remain anonymous, said the sacked publishing executive had been excused from a previous court hearing because of her state of mind.
"She was in bits. She was having panic attacks and saying 'I can't face the press'," the friend said. "The doctor said 'You can't go through this'."
The woman blamed the media for the way the case had been handled by the Dubai authorities. "It's been blown out of all proportion and it's been trial by media," she said. "If the media hadn't have picked up on it, the case would never have got this far. She has been slandered and so many lies have been written about her. She has made more press in the UK than some murderers."
The friend, who confirmed that Acors and Palmer continued to protest their innocence and would appeal, added that Palmer planned to return to the UK. Palmer and Acors' lawyer, Hassan Matter, said he was confident of overturning the conviction on appeal, which is likely to take place within the next two weeks.