The image of a British grandmother on death row in America has taken its place on Trafalgar Square’s fourth plinth in a plea to stop her execution
Linda Carty, 50, was sentenced to death in 2002 for her part in abducting and killing a 25-year-old woman, but claims she was framed.
A recorded plea from Carty was played aloud from the plinth. (play http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8246965.stm)
The Foreign Office said it had made a number of representations on her behalf to the US government.
Carty’s supporters erected a cardboard cut-out of her on the plinth, which is being used for temporary live statues in the London square.
They played the recording she made in the Texas jail where, if appeals fail, she will be put to death by lethal injection.
At the same time, campaigner Brian Capaloff, 46, from Falkirk, Stirlingshire, held up pieces of cardboard featuring extracts from her plea.
In the message, she stated: “Time is now running out and I appeal to every one of you and to the British government to please help me.”
She added: “I’m sorry if I sound like a desperate woman. I am desperate, because the British people may be my last hope. If they ask for my life to be spared, maybe Texas will listen.”
Legal charity Reprieve described Carty as the most at-risk British national they are following. It is thought her execution could take place as early as next summer.
Speaking from her Texas prison, Carty said she was hopeful that her appeal, currently lodged with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, would be successful.
Asked if she thought Prime Minister Gordon Brown could assert more pressure, she said: “He has to. You cannot sit passively by and, because you have a good relationship with the US, say ‘I don’t want to rock the boat’.
“You are talking about somebody’s life here. He has to get up and say ‘I am not going to allow you to kill this lady’.”
Clive Stafford-Smith, director of legal charity Reprieve, said: “Linda Carty’s speech to Trafalgar Square shows that she is a terrified woman, and with good reason. Texas plans to kill her by lethal injection, which is a painful and lonely death.
“The British government must do everything in its power to prevent Linda’s death.”
Carty was convicted in connection to the kidnap and murder of Joana Rodriguez, who was seized with her four-day-old son by three men on 16 May 2001.
But she says she was framed by three men in revenge for her work as an informant with a Drug Enforcement Agency.
Campaigners claim there were a number of defence failings during the trial.
The Foreign Office said that it had made its “usual representations” against the death penalty and that it had registered a complaint with the US Appeals Court about not being informed when Me Carty was first arrested.
A Foreign Office statement said: “We are resolutely opposed to the use of the death penalty.
“Our prime concern is to avoid the execution of British nationals.
“We have made a number of representations to the US Government, on this case and others, concerning our view on the death penalty. The US are fully aware of HMG’s stance on the death penalty.”
A spokesman for the British Consulate-General in Houston said the consulate remained in “close contact” with Carty and her legal representation in the US and UK, and would continue to provide Carty with consular assistance.
Carty has British dependent territory citizenship because she was born on the island of St Kitts, in the Caribbean, to Anguillan parents.
* Linda Carty interview
In an interview given in prison in Texas, she maintained her innocence and said circumstances had counted against her. Can be viewed at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8247656.stm