Actors back campaign for death row Briton

Film stars Colin Firth and Julie Christie yesterday backed a campaign to save the life of a British grandmother on death row in the USA.

The actors joined a number of public figures and celebrities including authors Philip Pullman, Zadie Smith and Martina Cole to write a letter to the Sunday Times calling for public support for Linda Carty.

It comes two days after Carty, 51, lodged a last-ditch appeal with the US Supreme Court.

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

A video plea on behalf of Carty will be submitted to the Supreme Court alongside the appeal from her legal team and a document from the British Government outlining its concerns over her sentence.

If it fails, Carty could be executed within months.

Backing Save Linda Carty campaign, the letter said: "Now is the time to get very worried about Linda - and to support the government's Supreme Court appeal on her behalf.

"Linda would not be on death row if she had been able to afford a decent defence lawyer. "

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

The baby was later found unharmed in a car, but Rodriguez was killed, 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.