The Old Bailey

Ruth Ellis Ruth Ellis

Ruth Ellis, a 28-year-old mother of two and nightclub hostess, was the last woman executed in the UK. Her trial at The Old Bailey (which lasted a mere day and a half) and her execution at London's Holloway Prison on 13 July 1955 aroused great public interest and newspaper coverage.

On Easter Sunday, 1955, Ruth Ellis waited outside a Hampstead pub for her former lover, David Blakely. When Blakely left the pub Ellis fired a shot from a revolver. It ricocheted off a wall, injuring a passer-by (who would later testify against her). Her second shot hit Blakely and he fell face down on the roadside. Ellis walked over to where Blakely lay and fired four more bullets, emptying her revolver.

Ruth Ellis was found guilty of murder (the jury deliberated for 23 minutes) and sentenced to death by hanging. There was a clamor for a reprieve, but the execution went on as planned. Ruth Ellis was hanged at Holloway Prison in London.