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 Friday, 17 January, 2003, 12:10 GMT
Death row appeal to PM
Jackie Elliott with his mother Dorothy
Elliott has always denied rape and murder
The mother of a Briton on death row in the US has asked Tony Blair to help save her son's life.

Dorothy Elliott, 67, wants the Prime Minister to intervene to save her son John "Jackie" Elliott, who is due to be executed in Texas on 4 February after being convicted of rape and murder.

On Friday at a press conference in the House of Commons Mrs Elliott made the plea for government support for her son, who was born in Suffolk.

"Something must be done to help my son. I love him very much and I don't want this to happen," she said.

I would ask if he would do anything for my son - the time is very near now

Dorothy Elliott, mother

"I think any mum would be willing to help him."

Mrs Elliott said if she could meet the Prime Minister, she would plead with him for help.

"I would ask if he would do anything for my son - the time is very near now. I'm thankful for all the help I'm getting," she said.

Elliott, 43, has always maintained his innocence since his conviction in 1987.

Jackie Elliott's mother on BBC Breakfast
Mother Dorothy Elliott: "He didn't do it"

Mrs Elliott and Jackie's brother Robert, who live in the US, are urging MPs and the Prime Minister to lobby the US authorities to allow a further appeal.

Mrs Elliott told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "He didn't have the right kind of lawyer. We didn't have the money to hire a lawyer so he had to go with the state lawyer, and he wasn't given a fair trial."

Robert said his brother had been given a tax attorney who had never tried criminal cases.

'Judicial miscarriage'

He also said new DNA testing could prove Elliott's innocence, but so far they had not been allowed to try it.

"That evidence will never come to light unless we have the execution stayed," he said.

Human rights lawyer Hugh Southey said it would be a "miscarriage of justice" if Elliott was executed.

A Commons motion appealing for clemency from the US authorities has already been signed by 81 MPs.

On Friday a spokeswoman for the Foreign Office told BBC News Online that the Foreign Secretary Jack Straw had written to the governor of Texas outlining the Government's opposition to the death penalty and urging that a prison sentence be substituted.

  WATCH/LISTEN
  ON THIS STORY
  Robert Elliott, brother of John Elliott
"There are a lot of holes in the testimony of other witnesses"
  Andie Lambe, Reprieve UK:
"His lawyers at trial were not criminal lwayers"

Click here to go to BBC Suffolk
See also:

17 Jan 03 | England
16 Jan 03 | Americas
08 Jan 03 | England
24 Dec 02 | England
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