Friday, 13 October 2017

Killer Women Series - Ruth Ellis

I have always been interested in the case I'm going to be talking about in this post. It's the case of Ruth Ellis who was the last woman to be hanged for murder in the U.K.
Ruth Ellis

The Case

On Easter Sunday 1955 David Blakely was shot outside a pub in London by Ruth Ellis. She had shouted him and then shot him, her first shot missed and he started to run away but Ruth chased him and shot at him again. This second shot caused him to fall to the ground, Ruth stood over him and shot him three more times. She immediately handed herself in to police and was charged with murder after confessing to the crime.


Ruth was born in Wales. She left school at the age of 14, the family moved to London during the Blitz in 1941. In 1944 at the age of 17 she gave birth to a child, the father was a married soldier from Canada. He gave Ruth money for the child for a while, the child ended up being taking care of by Ruth's mother. 
Ellis ended up working in a hostess bar after doing some naked modelling work. She married George Ellis in 1950, but this marriage didn't last. According to reports he was a violent alcoholic, she had a child with him and ended up living with her mother again, she continued working in hostess clubs to support herself.
It was when she was managing one of these clubs that she met David. 

Relationship With David Blakely

David was a couple of years younger than Ruth. Their relationship moved quickly and within a few weeks they were living together. David and Ruth's relationship apparently was filled with jealously and arguments. Ruth believed he was cheating on her. When she got pregnant to David she had an abortion (illegal back then).
They both began to see other people. Ruth started a relationship with a man called Desmond Cussen, she moved in with him after she was fired from the club she was working at.
Even though David and Ruth continued to be in a relationship of sorts, it became more and more violent and they argued constantly.
At one point he offered to marry her, but in 1955 according to some reports Ruth suffered a miscarriage allegedly brought about by David punching her in the stomach, this seemed to be the catalyst for everything that followed. Feeling depressed and lonely she went to stay with Cussen's who wasn't keen on David for obvious reasons.

The Trial

Before Ruth Ellis went on trial she was examined and found to be of sound mind. Her trial began in June 1955. Ruth pled not guilty. She took the stand with her hair still dyed blonde, her lawyers had advised her to change it as it gave the wrong impression but she refused. When she testified at court she didn't come across well. The jury didn't take long to convict her and she was sentenced to death. She didn't want any kind of reprieve and seemed content with her sentence being carried out. There was outrage in the public about the execution, and a petition was signed by thousands to stop it, but it didn't work. She was executed on July 13th 1955.

Desmond Cussen's Involvement

Information about Cussen's involvement was that he actually provided the gun that Ruth used to murder. Ruth also claimed he had taught her how to use it, also he had drove her down the street where David was staying with friends a few times over the nights before the murder. Desmond was never charged with anything in relation to the crime.

My Views

First of all I don't believe that Ruth should have been executed, as I don't believe she was fully in her right mind at the time of the murder. Ruth was clearly deeply in love with David and when she was depressed she turned to someone who instead of giving her comfort and a shoulder to cry on handed her a gun and showed her how to use it. I do believe she should have gone to prison for a long time for the crime but I lean more towards her being guilty of manslaughter as I don't think the murder was pre-meditated. Things that make me think she at least had diminished responsibility are:

-The miscarriage that was brought on by a beating off David. 

-Ruth had lost her flat and her job, giving all her money to him.

-There were also claims that she felt abandoned that weekend. After the miscarriage and David saying he wanted to marry her, he was partying with friends who she knew didn't like her and thought she was common.

None of this means that David Blakely deserved to die, but it does explain why Ruth should have been found guilty of manslaughter and not executed for murder.

I would be interested to hear you views on this case, please let me know in the comments.



  1. This is a really interesting case. I've always been interested in the OJ Simpson case myself, so have a interest in crime cases and stories like this. I agree with you - I don't believe in the death penalty anyway, but even in this time context, this seem disproportionate to the case. David Blakely didn't deserve to die, but it seems Ruth was as much of a victim as a perpetrator. Very interesting post x

    1. I've actally been thinking about doing a post about O.J 💕

  2. This is very interesting - I also believe she shouldn't have been executed. Like the other commenter said, she was a victim too.

    1. I think if it was in this day she wouldn't have been executed 💕

  3. Briliant post I love true crime stories and have heard of this one bedore i cane to the same conclusion as you #bloggerstribe

  4. Briliant post I love true crime stories and have heard of this one bedore i cane to the same conclusion as you #bloggerstribe

    1. True crime is my favorite thing to watch, read and write about 💕

  5. First off, I love true crime, so this post is right up my street! Always been fascinated by this case. My husband actually married a girl with this same name and I remember sitting in the church looking at the programme saying out loud “where do I know this name from? It’s so familiar...!” As soon as I realised I shut up immediately! And by the way, she did change her name when she got married!

  6. This was such an interesting read! I must say, I'm only really subscribed to fashion and beauty blogs, but I really enjoyed this! I love anything like this! I can't wait to read more! Xx

    1. Thanks i have quite a few on here and am working in more 💕

  7. You never fail to make your crime posts interesting, Emma! I agree with you that Ruth didn't seem to be in the most sound of mental states when she committed the crime, it sounds like she went through a hell of a tough life! I don't think she deserved to be executed either, I feel quite sorry for her!

    Abbey 😘

    1. I felt sorry for her too,think death sentence was too much, thanks for you're lovely comment 💕

  8. I'm literally obsessed with Ruth Ellis and her case. I've done a lot of reading around the tragic consequences for her family like her son who committed suicide etc.

    On Spotify you can listen to a re-enactment of the Ellis trial. Jemma Redgrave is the voice of Ruth. It's heartbreaking.

    I'm also fascinated by the fact the judge in this case financially supported Ellis' children.

    V <3

    1. I've read about her son, how sad how it affected other people 💕


Murder of Linda Bailey Brown

© Booking Good Read