Campaigners fight on for death row grandmother

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Campaigners are today planning their next step after the US Supreme Court decided not to review the case of a British grandmother on death row in Texas for killing a young mother.

Linda Carty was convicted in 2002 over the abduction and murder of a 25-year-old woman after a trial which supporters say was "catastrophically flawed".

Campaigners Reprieve, a legal action charity, said that the 51-year-old's life was now in the hands of the Republican Governor of Texas, Rick Perry.

However, since he succeeded George Bush nine years ago, Governor Perry has only granted clemency to one death row inmate.

"Linda's US lawyers Baker Botts are now considering next steps, but attention will shift towards seeking clemency from Governor Perry, which is likely to be Linda's last hope," a spokeswoman said.

Carty was convicted over the kidnap and murder of Joana Rodriguez, who was seized alongside her four-day-old son by three men on May 16 2001.

The baby was later found unharmed in a car, but Ms Rodriguez was killed, having suffocated with duct-tape over her mouth and a plastic bag placed around her head.

Carty always maintained that she was framed over the murder by the men who carried out the abduction due to her earlier work as an informant for the Drug Enforcement Agency.

Reprieve says that Carty was given an incompetent defence lawyer during the original trial who failed to inform the British Government so it could intervene on her behalf.

Documents filed with the Supreme Court alleged that her court-appointed trial counsel Jerry Guerinot's performance was "deplorable".

Reprieve executive director Clare Algar said: "We are shocked and dismayed by this decision, which will destroy Linda Carty and her loving family.

"Linda is the unluckiest woman on death row.

"Despite her compelling case, she has been repeatedly failed by the legal system - and now the Supreme Court has turned their back on her.

"These are desperate times for Linda, who now faces the unthinkable prospect of imminent execution.

"We will be begging the Governor of Texas to look at the injustices in this case and to show mercy."

Carty was born on the Caribbean island of St Kitts to parents from the British overseas territory of Anguilla, and holds a UK dependent territory passport.