Minister takes up Suffolk death row plea

PLEAS for a stay execution for a former Felixstowe man on death row have been made to the US government by a British minister.Foreign Office minister Baroness Amos has submitted a statement to her opposite number in America – asking for John "Jackie" Elliott's sentence to be put on hold until new evidence in his case has been examined.

PLEAS for a stay execution for a former Felixstowe man on death row have been made to the US government by a British minister.

Foreign Office minister Baroness Amos has submitted a statement to her opposite number in America – asking for John "Jackie" Elliott's sentence to be put on hold until new evidence in his case has been examined.

Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer has also sent a full appraisal of the case to Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and hopes he will also make representations to the US government on Elliott's behalf.

"He's been given all the details and received a message from me and he is preparing his position. The British Government has taken a very clear line that it does make representations in these circumstances," he said.

"We will be concentrating on the fact that this is a British subject condemned 16 years ago where there is considerable doubt as to the security of the conviction, particularly as one of the two witnesses has now been found to have given false evidence in another case.

"In a British court, I have no doubt that this whole situation would be reassessed. We are pushing as hard as we can, but time is running out."

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Members of Elliott's family are flying to Britain to meet Mr Gummer, and other MPs and supporters at the House of Commons on Friday to discuss the case.

Mr Gummer wants the American authorities to allow forensic scientists to carry out DNA testing on blood stained items of clothing with techniques that would not have been available 16 years ago to settle the matter.

"I would hope, very firmly, particularly at this time, that there should be a very close relationship between the U.S. and UK. To grant us this would show them to be reacting in a friendly and helpful manner," he added.

Building worker Elliott is due to be killed by lethal injection in Texas on February 4 for the rape and murder of teenager Joyce Munguia.

Elliott has always protested his innocence and claims he was convicted because of evidence from Texan police informers who were covering their own guilt. The 18-year-old victim was raped and then beaten to death with a bicycle chain under an Eastside overpass in East Austin.

Elliott, 42, lived in Gainsborough Road, Felixstowe, with his parents Robert – who was stationed at USAF Bentwaters air base – and Dorothy. His parents have returned to America.

Currently, Elliot is in isolation at the Polunsky Unit at Livingston. He has a 60ft sq single-man cell with a window. The execution will take place at the Walls Unit at Huntsville, in Walker County, 70 miles north of Houston, and 170 miles south of Dallas.

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