British pen pal visits US killer granted stay of execution

Jan Arriens and Mike Lambrix Image copyright Jan Arriens/State of Florida
Image caption Mike Lambrix (right) was due to be put to death on 11 February, but has now been given a stay of execution

A British man who has written to a convicted killer in the US for 25 years is visiting his pen pal.

Jan Arriens, from Bishop's Castle in Shropshire, planned to visit Mike Lambrix, who was set executed on 11 February.

Lambrix - who was sentenced to death for the murder of a couple in Florida in 1984 - was given a stay of execution last week.

Mr Arriens says he will now be travelling with renewed optimism.

"I'm looking forward to the trip now, whereas before it was really a bit of an ordeal and very trying," he said.

"Now I can go in a totally different frame of mind, be much more positive and share things with him that in a way wouldn't have been possible otherwise."

Stay of execution

The Quaker-founded LifeLines supports prisoners on death row through letters and hopes Lambrix's death sentence will be dropped.

"Anything is possible at this stage. The likelihood of execution has decreased, but it's still very real," Mr Arriens said.

Mr Arriens, who last saw Lambrix 12 years ago, said he almost cancelled the trip after the execution date was put back, but felt it was important to carry on with his previous plans.

"I think that at this sort of time suddenly people become much less news-worthy and he could feel very isolated, so I thought it was precisely the time to stay in touch with him and keep supporting him," he said.

"He's been through some very difficult days and experiences, and I'll be interested to talk to him about that - how he's coped with all the pressures on him and what it's meant to him in terms of the meaning of life."

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