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EDITIONS
Friday, 17 January, 2003, 07:01 GMT
Death row fight for justice
Jackie Elliot and his mother
Jackie Elliot with his mother Dorothy

Dorothy Elliott meets her son Jackie for two hours each week.

Though separated by a Perspex screen, she values the time granted for visits as the date for her son Jackie Elliott's execution gets closer.

After 16 years on death row, Suffolk-born Elliott, who has UK and US dual nationality, is due to be executed by lethal injection for murder on 4 February.

But human rights groups and legal experts in the UK are making a last ditch appeal arguing that he was convicted on flawed evidence.

When I go to see him for two hours every week it is very hard to see them bring him with all his chains on his arms

Dorothy Elliott

Now Dorothy and Elliott's brother Robert have come to the UK to ask for British help in backing the appeal.

"We have come to help plead my brother's case to the British Government," he said.

The fight for justice has taken its toll on the lives of Robert, 46, and 67-year-old Dorothy.

Dorothy Elliot told BBC News Online: "It has affected me very badly.

Jackie Elliott when he was a child
As a young boy Jackie lived in Suffolk

"When I go to see him for two hours every week it is very hard to see them bring him with all his chains on his arms.

"It is very hard when I have to leave him."

Robert, who lived with the family in Felixstowe in the 1960s, said: "When you are involved in a situation like this you feel totally dispirited.

"There have been times when I just shook my head."

'Not lost'

Elliott's hair has grown grey in jail, Robert said, but "considering the circumstances" he is "doing quite well".

Elliott, whose father worked at the former US base at Bentwaters, near Woodbridge, is pleased with the support he has been getting in the UK.

"The one thing that makes it a little bit better is that people are trying to help me, maybe all hope is not lost," he said.

Hugh Southey, a leading human rights barrister, takes the fight to Parliament on Friday.

He said: "We want the government to intervene in the process at every level they are able to intervene in."

Case flawed

Mr Southey believes the case against Elliott is flawed.

Elliott was convicted of the 1986 murder of Joyce Munguia in East Austin, Texas.

Mr Southey said the evidence of the two main witnesses was questionable as they were also suspects.

He is also calling for new DNA tests on blood samples taken from the clothing of another suspect and from the victim's clothing which could help prove Elliott's innocence.

The tests were not available during the original trial.

"There has not been satisfactory DNA testing," he said.

'No angel'

"It is very unsatisfactory to want to execute someone when every possible way of examining the evidence has not been tried."

Robert hopes the British Government can put pressure on the US authorities on Elliott's behalf.

He admits Elliott was "no angel" and his brother had previously served three-and-a-half years in jail after admitting his part in a shooting where a man died.

But he still misses his brother who "always had a smile on his face".

"I wholeheartedly believe my brother is innocent," he added.


Click here to go to BBC Suffolk
See also:

17 Jan 03 | England
13 Jan 03 | England
08 Jan 03 | England
24 Dec 02 | England
13 Mar 02 | Americas
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