Ruth Ellis

Ruth Ellis

Rhyl, Denbighshire, Wales
Death 13 Jul 1955 (aged 28)
Holloway, London Borough of Islington, Greater London, England
Burial* Amersham, Chiltern District, Buckinghamshire, England

* This is the original burial site

Memorial ID 21857 · View Source
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Criminal. She will be remembered as being one of the five women executed from 1903 to 1955 at London, England's Holloway Prison for Women. She received notoriety for murdering her lover and being the last woman to be executed in England. Born Ruth Neilson, she was raised in a strict Roman Catholic home. By the time she was 25 years old, she had a son out-of-wedlock with a Canadian married soldier, married another man, and had a daughter who her husband refuse to claim or support. At the age of 27, she was in another dysfunctional relationship with a new lover, David Blakely. He was an older, financially secured man but, according to some sources, he was an alcoholic and abusive. As a “bleached-bonde bombshell,” she did au naturel modeling and hostessing in night clubs to support her two children. As a poor student, her formal education stopped when she was fourteen years old. Her stormy jealous relationship with Blakley reached a peak at 9:30 PM on the evening of Easter Sunday, April 10, 1955 when she fired five rounds from a gun at Blakely as he was leaving a pub. Blakely was rushed to a hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. Her first shot had missed him, but the second made him fall to the ground. She leaned over him and fired three more shots. At this point, she lifted the gun to her head and pulled the trigger, but the gun jammed and did not fire. She dropped the gun, it fired, and ricocheted off the pavement and wounded a lady bystander in the hand. After firing the borrowed .38 caliber Smith and Wesson revolver, she requested for “someone to call the police” and an off duty policeman at the pub arrested her on the spot. Bruises on her abdomen and limbs were the evidence of the claim that she made of him beating her. She was charged with the murder of Blakey and found guilty on June 20, 1955. Within a month on July 13th at 9 AM, she was the last woman in England to be hung until dead. Her daughter was only three and a half years old. The public was outraged that a mother of two, who had been abused by a man, could be executed in England. Her execution led to the 1965 abolishment of the death penalty in Britain. She was buried in an unmarked grave on the grounds at Holloway Prison for Women. In 1971, while the prison was being remodeled, all five executed women were exhumed. Amelia Sach, Annie Walters, Edith Thompson, and Styllou Christofi were all buried in Brookwood Cemetery in a single grave. Ellis, who was buried at St Mary the Virgin Churchyard, had “Ruth Hornby 1926-1955” inscribed on her marker, but this marker was destroyed in 1982, hence her grave is now unmarked. In the week of March of 2018, BBC4 aired its three-part documentary series, featuring American journalist, Gillian Pachter, on Ruth Ellis's life and the obsession England has with her execution.

Bio by: Linda Davis

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 21 Apr 2001
  • Find a Grave Memorial 21857
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Ruth Ellis (9 Oct 1926–13 Jul 1955), Find a Grave Memorial no. 21857, citing St. Mary the Virgin Churchyard, Amersham, Chiltern District, Buckinghamshire, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave .