Two British nurses freed after being convicted of killing a colleague in Saudi Arabia arrived home Thursday to controversy over their decision to sell their stories to British tabloids.

Deborah Parry, 39, and Lucille McLauchlan, 32, had been in a Saudi Arabian prison for 18 months since their arrest in 1996 for the murder of Australian nurse Yvonne Gilford. They were freed Wednesday after Saudi King Faud commuted their sentences.Parry's lawyer, Rodger Pannone, said his client maintains her innocence but criticized "the treatment that she and Lucille McLauchlan received at the hands of certain Saudi Arabian police."

Parry and McLauchlan initially confessed to the murder but later recanted, saying their confessions were coerced by torture.

The two nurses reportedly will receive sums in the six figures.

Piers Morgan, editor of The Mirror, defended his newspaper's purchase of McLauchlan's story, saying he believed the British people felt she was innocent. McLauchlan was found guilty of being an accessory to murder and sentenced to eight years in prison and 500 lashes. The lashes were never carried out.

The Express says it bought the story of Parry, who was convicted in August 1997 of fatally stabbing the 55-year-old Gilford. She was sentenced to die.

Parry escaped beheading when Gilford's brother, Frank, waived his right under Islamic law to demand the death penalty in exchange for money.