Plea over British grandmother on death row

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The Independent US

The daughter of a British woman on Death Row in the US pleaded with MPs today to help prevent her mother's execution.









Linda Carty, 51, could be given the lethal injection within months after the Supreme Court refused to review a murder conviction campaigners say resulted from a "catastrophically flawed" trial.



Her daughter, Jovelle Carty Joubert, has flown into the UK from her home in Texas, as part of desperate efforts to rally support for the condemned woman, who has always protested her innocence.



Over the next few days she will meet Foreign Office officials and MPs in a bid to rally support for her mother. But she has so far failed to secure a meeting with any Government ministers.



Speaking at a press conference inside the House of Commons, Ms Carty Joubert called on politicians to increase the pressure on US authorities over her mother's case.



She said support from the UK was coming across "loud and clear" in Texas but more needed to be done.



Carty was convicted in 2002 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 has always maintained her innocence.



She claims 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.



Legal rights charity Reprieve claim Carty was given an incompetent defence lawyer during the original trial who, amongst other alleged failings, neglected to inform the British Government so it could intervene on her behalf.



Documents filed with the Supreme Court accuse the court-appointed trial counsel Jerry Guerinot of a "deplorable" trial performance.



Likewise the Foreign Office complained of "ineffective counsel" in court filings it made under the last government in support of Carty.



Despite this, the US Supreme Court has refused an application to review the 51-year-old's murder conviction.



It means that Carty could be executed within months unless the Governor of Texas intervenes.



She is currently being held in a Death Row prison in Gatesville, Texas.



Her daughter today spoke of her mother's life behind bars and the impact it was having on the family.



Ms Carty Joubert said: "It is horrible. I have to see my mum in a cage and in shackles. I do not get any contact, I can't hold her hand."



She added that Carty's two young grandchildren are prevented from visiting her under state law.



Referring to her mother's execution, Ms Carty Joubert said: "Just thinking about it makes me sick. It is hard enough that my mother isn't there but at least there is a small bit, I get to see her.



"But knowing that she wont be on this earth for something she didn't do makes it harder."



She added: "We haven't had justice, my mother is basically a scapegoat."



Ms Carty Joubert was joined by Tory MP Peter Bottomley and Clive Stafford Smith, director of Reprieve at today's press conference.



Tomorrow, she will meet Foreign Office officials to press the case for her mother.



But to date, Ms Carty Joubert has been unable to secure a meeting with any Government ministers.



Asked if he was disappointed that no member of the coalition had put themselves forward, Mr Stafford Smith said he was "confident" that the Government would do the right thing when it came to Linda Carty.



He added that her case represented the "first test of the coalition" when it came to protecting the fundamental right to life of its citizens.



He added: "It does seem to me to be reasonable that the British Government says to the US government 'We are your closest ally, we would appreciate it if you didn't go killing our citizens'."



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.

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