Fresh bid for tests to avert execution

FRESH legal proceedings are taking place in America today to try to prove the innocence of a former Suffolk man held on death row for rape and murder.Permission is being sought for DNA tests to be carried out on a blood-spattered pair of shoes – tests which could save John "Jackie" Elliott from execution.

FRESH legal proceedings are taking place in America today to try to prove the innocence of a former Suffolk man held on death row for rape and murder.

Permission is being sought for DNA tests to be carried out on a blood-spattered pair of shoes – tests which could save John "Jackie" Elliott from execution.

The shoes belong to Danny Hanson, one of four men arrested on the night 16 years ago when mother-of-one Joyce Munguia was brutally gang-raped and then battered to death with a motorcycle chain.

Elliott, who lived with his parents, Dorothy and Robert, in Felixstowe until he was four years old, was convicted of the murder and sentenced to death.

Hanson always claimed the blood on his shoes was caused by a stab wound he suffered months earlier.

Elliott's lawyers want to use modern forensic techniques, which were not available at the time of the trial, to see whether it was Joyce Munguia's blood.

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If it was, this would put Hanson at the scene of the crime which he had denied visiting and would invalidate the testimony he made under oath.

So far the US authorities have refused to reopen the case so that the DNA testing can be carried out.

Elliott's lawyers are convinced the tests would prove prosecution witnesses lied about Elliott's involvement in the murder.

Even though he has not been to Britain since he left 38 years ago, Elliott has great pride in still being a British citizen.

His mum Dorothy Elliott, 67, and older brother Robert, 46, have delivered a personal letter addressed to Prime Minister Tony Blair asking him to intervene directly.

"Something must be done to help my son. I love him very much and I don't want this to happen," said Mrs Elliott. "The time is very near now. I'm thankful for all the help I'm getting."

Elliott is due to be executed by injection at Huntsville, Texas, at 6pm on February 4.

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