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Wednesday, 5 February, 2003, 16:00 GMT
Briton's execution condemned
Campaigners outside the Texas prison
Jackie Elliott denied rape and murder
British-born Jackie Elliott has been executed by lethal injection in Texas, for the rape and murder of an 18-year-old woman in 1986.

Despite a UK-based campaign to gain a reprieve, Elliott's legal team failed in last-ditch appeals to both the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and the US Supreme Court.

Elliott's last day
Mother and older brother visit in morning
Younger sister visits in afternoon and stays for execution
Texas Parole Board turns down appeal for clemency
Appeal to Texas Court of Criminal Appeals - highest Texas court - fails
Appeal to US Supreme Court fails
No stay of execution from state governor
Final meal of tea and biscuits
Lethal injection given at 0102 GMT at Walls prison unit in Huntsville
With no stay of execution from Texas governor Rick Perry, Elliott was taken to the death chamber a few minutes before 0100 GMT (1900 local time) on Wednesday morning.

Speaking after the execution Conservative MP John Gummer - in whose Suffolk constituency Elliott was born - said it was a "sad day for American justice".

"No rational individual can be happy to see a person killed where so many questions remain unanswered," he added.

Elliott's lead lawyer, Clive Stafford-Smith, praised the British people for the "outstanding support" they had shown to Elliott and his family.

He said it had "lent some dignity to his death, by demonstrating such injustices will not go unnoticed, wherever they occur".

Family members

Reporters at the scene said that when asked by the prison warden if he had a final statement, the 42-year-old father-of-two shook his head and whispered: "No, sir."
Joyce Munguia
Victim Joyce Munguia was a teenage mother

The lethal drugs started flowing at 0102 GMT and he was pronounced dead seven minutes later.

Family members, including a sister, were present for the execution and prayed aloud as he died.

Prison officials said Elliott's last meal had been a cup of tea and six chocolate chip cookies.

They also described how he had spent the last few days sleeping and listening to music but denying most food offered to him.

Murder victim

Outside the prison, a small band of protesters held a vigil but the BBC's David Willis said the mood was "sad and pathetic", with "no big fanfare" for Elliott.

The murder victim, Joyce Munguia, was gang-raped and beaten to death with a motorcycle chain.

Elliott was arrested while on probation for separate murder and burglary convictions.

He was found guilty of raping Ms Munguia after some of his co-defendants gave evidence against him. Defence lawyers were convinced they had lied.

'More likely suspects'

Elliott's legal team had argued new DNA tests could have proved that while Elliott was at the scene, he did not commit the crime - but these tests were not allowed.

Yes I did [see her die]... but it wasn't me that killed her

Jackie Elliott

They also maintained that new evidence from police reports pointed to other, more likely, suspects for the 1986 murder.

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw had also made attempts to avert the execution, including writing to Governor Perry asking for Elliott's sentence to be commuted to life.

And 134 MPs signed a Commons motion urging Prime Minister Tony Blair to speak directly to US President George Bush on Elliott's behalf.

But the matter was not raised when the two men met last week, Downing Street saying it was a matter for the governor of Texas, not the US President.

The son of a US serviceman, Elliott left England when he was six months old.

Texas State authorities have never responded to a foreign plea for clemency, and the state had already executed six people this year.

The BBC's Richard Forrest
"The British government had urged the Governor of Texas to intervene"
The BBC's David Willis in Texas
"Texas is fairly uncompromising in these matters"
John Gummer, Elliott family MP
"This case would not have come to the courts in Britain"

Click here to go to BBC Suffolk
See also:

04 Feb 03 | UK
17 Jan 03 | England
17 Jan 03 | England
16 Jan 03 | Americas
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