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Ruth Ellis

The last woman to be hanged in the United Kingdom

By Lesedi MolutsiPublished 2 months ago 3 min read
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London 1955 and a pretty Club hostess Ruth Ellis had no idea she was about to divide a nation and make British legal history. Goodtime girl at 19 she's running a club in the West End of London getting people to buy drinks at extortioner prizes and she would con people into spending and parting with a lot of money here in the club. Ex-policeman John Ross oversees Scotland Yard's crime Museum where Ruth Ellis is remembered. We collect items from famous cases and display them in the museum. The stories that go with all these cases, you learn from history nothing ever changes. Many men fell under Ruth's spell but only one would dominate her attention. The dashing David Blakey, self-centred racing car driver, never actually going to make it but spent all his life, rich boy, just running around enjoying himself.

She was madly in love with him, desperately in love with him and he wasn't with her. But after a two-year relationship the race car driver was proving hard to tie down. He would have affairs with other women all the time. Purely self-centered, selfish man, a playboy. Each dalliance delivered more frustration for Ruth. David's philandering didn't seem to slow down when Ruth became pregnant with his baby, things only became worse. He punched her in the stomach whether that was to get rid of the baby or another moment of violence, we will never know. He sent her a bunch of flowers the next day and said sorry. Ruth lost her baby and planned her revenge. Women are much more relationship based, they are much more into their feelings, in their intuition. I feel that when women's relationships are disrupted they can become furious.

A gun is an interesting weapon because it allows the shooter, the killer to dispatch their victim without even getting close to them. It's all going to be over in a matter of minutes. This is a small caliber revolver, this is classified as a low-velocity handgun. In other words, the speed at which the bullet would be leaving the end of the muzzle, would be less than 2,000 feet per second. On April 10th 1955, David Blakey was drinking in the Magdala pub in North London. Ruth and her weapon were ready. The reason this is such an effective weapon is it doesn't take much force at all to pull the trigger. in fact, probably two to three maybe four pounds of pressure. As they came out of the pub, Ruth I stepped out of the shadows and called his name. Fired two shots at him.

When a bullet enters that body, the kinetic energy will cause a cavity, something called a temporary cavity that's caused by energy radiating out from that speeding bullet. She just walked up and emptied the other three bullets into him. When a bullet enters a body, it perforates through the skin, as it does so it will damage blood vessels and it will cause massive internal bleeding. Blood will accumulate and it the body will go into shock when it is lost approximately 20% of its circulating blood volume. It was a very public murder, many witnesses. In 1955 murder was a capital offense. The problem with Ellis was she had a death wish. She'd killed the only thing she ever loved and she wanted to die. Facing a death sentence Ruth offered no resistance. At her trial she was actually admitted, when asked about firing the bullets into David Blakey.

She said, yeah of course I went there, I went to the Magdeburg a lovely evening with the intention of shooting David Blakey and killing him. Now she's admitted the premeditation, she's admitted the act. She has to be found guilty. She has to be found guilty of murder. Although many believed Ruth was driven to murder by her victim’s actions. English law at the time could make no concession. It's difficult to imagine a civilized society putting to death a killer who had a clear-cut history of abuse from the individual that they killed. Modern laws recognizing diminished responsibilities were yet to be written. Despite public protests and parliamentary petitions, 28 year-old Ruth Ellis was hanged at Holloway prison. It would be a turning point in English justice. New laws recognizing battered woman syndrome and diminished responsibility would follow within ten years. Capital punishment was suspended, Ruth would be the last woman executed in England.

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Lesedi Molutsi

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