Ruth Ellis Wiki
Ruth Ellis Biography
Who is Ruth Ellis ?
At 9 a.m. on July 13, 1955, Ruth Ellis was taken to the HMP Holloway scaffold to meet the legendary executioner Albert Pierrepoint.
The 28-year-old murderer stood briefly on the hatch, his hands tied behind his back; a hood covering his face. Pierrepoint, who described his neck as ‘thin’, placed the rope over his head and secured it in his place.
He had already determined that a drop of eight feet would be enough to end the life of the mother of two who stood at 5 feet two inches in her stockings.
Moments later, she died with a dislocated fracture of the second and third cervical vertebrae.
There was also “little soft tissue destruction” and a “clean break in the spinal cord” and a separation of nearly an inch.
A measurement of the fall after the execution showed that he had fallen a total of eight feet. She had narrowly prevented her head from being separated from her body.
Less than 24 hours earlier, when Pierrepoint was traveling from the Rose and Crown bar in Hoole, Lancashire, Ellis was receiving her final visitors. Among them were his attorneys, Mr. Simmons and Victor Mishcon.
A correctional officer, Chief Officer Griffin, was standing in the corner of the room taking notes that were kept in his file and sealed for more than half a century.
Now those documents have been declassified and reveal critical details that were not raised during her one-day trial that sentenced her to hang.
Mr. Mischon said that “it was only fair that the Minister of the Interior knew the true facts of the weapon
The notes showed how his legal team still believed there was time to convince Home Secretary Gwilym Lloyd George to commute the sentence. Although, while they were sitting with Ellis, London’s Deputy Sheriff Harold Gedge, a representative of the newly installed Queen Elizabeth II, was at the hanged man’s house “for the purpose of testing the apparatus.”
Gedge filled a sandbag until he weighed 103 pounds, the same as Ellis, and tied him to the rope before opening the hatch. The mechanism worked perfectly and the string was left taut until shortly before the performance the next morning to eliminate any elasticity.
Inside Ellis’s cell, according to the note prepared by PO Griffin, which is housed at the National Archives in Kew, “Mr. Mischon was very persistent in asking Ellis about the weapon.”
Mr. Mischon said that “it was only fair that the Minister of the Interior knew the true facts of the weapon” and that “the truth could be put on record”.
Ellis told her attorney that she “didn’t want to say anything that could get anyone else in trouble.” Mr. Mischon assured her that no one else would be affected, although that detail could help in her case.
Other documents in his prison record suggest that he may have believed that her execution would allow him to ‘join Blakeley in the afterlife’.
During the trial, the judge and jury heard that on Easter Sunday, April 10, 1955, Ellis had walked a quarter of a mile to The Magdala Tavern to wait for David Blakeley. She was hiding at the door of a news agent when the 25-year-old racing driver left the bar with a friend at 9:30 p.m.
The trial heard Ellis yell ‘Hi David’ as her ex-lover searched for her car keys. She pulled a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson Victory from her bag and opened fire.
The first round missed and he tried to run down the side of the vehicle. The second bullet hit him and knocked him to the ground.
Ellis walked over to his ex-lover and stood over him before firing four more rounds, one point-blank into his back. The last bullet ricocheted off the ground and struck a passerby.
Three months after the shooting and on the eve of his death, PO Griffin said with ‘very, very reluctance, Ellis said,’ Okay, I’ll tell you, but I can’t in front of the officer. ‘
After a bit more persuasion, he continued with Griffin in the room and said that the night of the shooting Desmond Cousins gave him the gun. His name was not mentioned at the Old Bailey, nor did the jury know that he was another lover.
According to the report: ‘He [Cousins] loaded it and oiled it’ before handing over the gun. “ He says he was confused about all the drinking ” and he couldn’t remember what Cousins had said when he handed him the gun.
He said that he had been drinking ‘Vernat, a greenish liquid’. She said Cousins brought her to Hampstead without hesitation. In the original court report, he claimed that she had walked to the pub.
The report said
The report said: “Never seen the gun before, just a BB gun on the floor, Blakeley was more jealous of Cousins than Blakeley’s Cousins.”
Shortly before the meeting ended, Ellis admitted that she “still doesn’t want to live” and, if she had, she could have “pleaded insanity at trial.”
The public was fascinated by the case, with some 250 people standing vigil outside the prison on the morning of the execution to protest the sentence.
Although in the House of Commons there were furious exchanges with accusations that some teachers took their students to jail to witness the show.
In Blackpool, public opinion was “shocked and scandalized by the crude commercialism of certain Blackpool showmen who displayed an effigy of Ruth Ellis the day after it was hanged.”
The Interior Minister, who ruled out the abolition of the death penalty, suggested that “if public opinion is really shocked, it would have been better if the public had not gone to see the exhibition.”
During her trial, the court heard that Blakeley had been violent towards Ellis, who tried to excuse her attacks by saying that she ‘only hit me with her fist or hands’, or that she ‘hurt me easily’.
At one point, he described an attack. She said: ‘A few weeks or days before, I don’t know which one, David got very violent. I don’t know if that caused the miscarriage or not. He patted me on the belly.
When asked what his intention was on Easter Sunday when she confronted Blakeley, she replied, “It is obvious that when I shot him he intended to kill him.”
Ten days before her trial, a psychiatrist interviewed Ellis, who found “no history of any mental illness or nervous problem.”
Ruth Ellis Quick and Facts
- Nightclub hostess Ruth Ellis was executed at Holloway Prison at 9am on July 13, 1955 by Albert Pierrepoint
- The 28-year-old mother of two had been convicted of murdering racing driver David Blakeley on April 10, 1955
- She admitted shooting dead her lover and was convicted of murder following a one day trial on June 20, 1955
- Hours before her execution she revealed another lover, Desmond Cousins, had supplied the murder weapon