Council says no to execution complaint

NO message of regret is to be voiced by John "Jackie" Elliott's home town over his execution – after the mayor said it was none of the council's business.

NO message of regret is to be voiced by John "Jackie" Elliott's home town over his execution – after the mayor said it was none of the council's business.

Felixstowe mayor Malcolm Minns voted against a motion aimed at expressing concern that not all the evidence was assessed before Elliott's killing.

"It is not a matter for Felixstowe Town Council and I can think of many cases in this country of similar circumstances if we open our door to debates on issues of this sort," said Mr Minns.

"I really believe the council would be stepping outside its appropriate duty and responsibility."

Former mayor Harry Dangerfield asked the council to express its regret that Elliott's execution had gone ahead in Texas before DNA tests could be carried out on blood spattered shoes, which may have proved his innocence.

But the council's general purposes committee voted three in favour and three against, with four abstentions. Because chairman Chris Slemmings abstained, he was not able to make a casting vote and the issue was unresolved.

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Although the mayor described Elliott's connections with Felixstowe as "minute", Mr Dangerfield said the resort was his home town and the council was the appropriate body to comment on the case.

He had strong concerns about whether justice had been served because the American courts had not allowed the fresh evidence to be examined before the execution by lethal injection.

DNA testing of the shoes had not been available at the time of the original trial 16 years ago and all the jurors had signed a petition saying the fresh evidence should at least be examined to see if it shed any new light on the case.

"I am not saying Elliott was definitely innocent but the way this case was handled leaves me with a very unsatisfactory feeling," said Mr Dangerfield.

Councillor Doreen Savage felt the sentiments and protest were "too late" and could have understood the reasoning if the motion could help in any way.

The committee had sat in January when publicity was at its height about Elliott's execution – which took place last month – and campaigners were working to persuade the Texas government to re-open the case, but Mr Dangefield did not bring it forward then.

Construction worker Elliott, 42, was executed for the rape and murder of 18-year-old Joyce Munguia.

He was born and lived until he was four at Felixstowe with his parents, Robert – who was stationed at USAF Bentwaters air base – and Dorothy. His mum would still like to clear his name but says the legal fight could be expensive.

WEBLINKS: www.jackelliott.org

www.felixstowe.gov.uk

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