Born on 9th of October 1926
Died in Holloway, London
Died on 13rd of July 1955
As the last woman executed in Britain, and for a crime of passion, a certain glamour now attaches to Ruth Ellis. In reality her story is pitifully grubby.
Born in Rhyl in 1926 in a large family which a few years later moved to Basingstoke, Ruth left school at 14 to waitress there and a year later in London. A brief affair with a married Canadian soldier when she was 17 left her pregnant with her son Clare. To make a living she did nude modelling and worked as a nightclub hostess before marrying an abusive alcoholic man of 41 – dentist George Ellis - when she was 24; the marriage produced a daughter of disputed paternity and quickly ended.
Graduating to managing a nightclub saw her begin affairs with racing driver David Blakeley and former RAF pilot Desmond Cussen, whose live-in mistress she became. She miscarried Blakeley’s child after he hit her.
On the evening of April 10 1955 Cussen gave her a gun and drove her to a pub in Hampstead where it was known Blakeley would be. Ruth Ellis chased and shot Blakeley, three of the bullets fired point-blank. At her trial she incriminated herself; dressed brassily; and failed to reveal both Cussen’s part in the crime and Blakeley’s attack. In spite of worries about her treatment and regardless of a huge public petition for clemency she was hanged at Holloway Prison by Albert Pierrepoint on July 13 1955.
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