Ruth Ellis


Ruth Hornby Neilson was born in England on Oct. 9, 1926.  She was the second daughter and fourth child.  Her family was poor, she resented this. She was a gawky looking child who would blossom into a beautiful woman.  During this time, she met a handsome French-Canadian soldier, he was ten years her senior.  Ruth became pregnant, the soldier left her, she gave birth to a son.  She was unable to support him and sent him to live with her parents.  She applied for a job at the Court Club, an upscale gentlemen's club in downtown England, she was hired as a hostess and barmaid.  She became a smashing success and attendance tripled.

The owner propositioned her, if she would entertain men after hours, he would supply her with a free suite and give her a percentage of the profits.  Ruth accepted and became a call girl overnight.  She began entertaining men nightly. 

She lived lavishly, wore nice clothes and drove an expensive sports car.  She bore a passing resemblence to Marilyn Monroe and was often stopped by tourists for an autograph. 

One of her clients was an alcoholic doctor named George Ellis, he fell in love with her.  He proposed marriage, she accepted under one condition, he would seek treatment for alcoholism.  He agreed and checked into a detox center.

When he was released, they married and Ruth retired.  Happiness didn't last long, Ellis got drunk on their wedding night, she threatened to leave, he checked into a hospital.   Ruth became pregnant, Ellis wanted her to have an illegal abortion, she refused and gave birth to a baby girl, she named her Georgina.  Ellis refused to have anything to do with the child and demanded that Ruth put the child up for adoption, Ruth filed for divorce. 

Ruth returned to her job, the attendance skyrocketed.  She had more customers than she could handle.  One Sept. evening  in 1953, a handsome man walked through the door, her heart skipped a beat.  David Blakely was a dashing aristocrat and a well known race car driver. 

Blakely became a satisfied customer, they fell in love and Blakely became insanely jealous over her customers and taunted her in front of patrons.   She was flattered by his jealousy at first and then she became frightened.  He would always apologize afterwards and they would end up in bed.  She began cancelling dates to spend all of her time with Blakely and she started receiving customer complaints, the club gave her a warning.  One evening, Blakely went into a rage and pushed her down the stairs, she broke her ankle and the club fired Ruth.  While she recovered, Blakely flaunted women all over town and became secretly engaged to a wealthy socialite.

The socialite found out about Ruth and cancelled the engagement.  Blakely hid Ruth from his family and friends due to his rich background. When she complained, he relented and invited her to the race track to see him race.  She arrived in a tight fitting dress with a plunging neckline and she wore dark shades.  The women in attendance were appalled but the men loved her.  Blakely seethed in the background.  

Ruth was hopelessly devoted to Blakely despite his violent outbursts.   When she confronted him about other women, he beat her.  The violence escalated along with the emotional abuse.  Ruth became pregnant, she was ecstatic, she told Blakely, he reacted by punching her in the stomach several times.

She would miscarry and remain in the hospital for three days.  Blakely never sent flowers, called or visited.  Ruth was outraged. When she was released, the outbursts of violence increased.  Blakely began dating other women openly and spent less time with Ruth.  She sacrificed her career for him, she was in dire financial straits and he was humiliating her openly.  After a severe beating that left one of her eyes shut, Ruth decided to follow Blakely.  He went to visit a girlfriend, afterwards, he went to the pub to meet friends.

When he came out, Ruth emerged from her car, she reached in her purse and pulled out a .38, as she approached, she called out his name, he continued walking, she caught up with him and ordered his friends out of the way, she fired all six shots, he died instantly.  Ruth surrendered and was charged with murder.  She made quite a stir when she showed up at the courtroom decked out in a tailored tweed suit with fur trim hiding behind movie star shades.  Her lawyers pleaded with her to change her plea to insanity, she refused and was sentenced to hang.

Ruth Ellis was hanged on July 13, 1955.  She was the last woman executed in England.

The gun used to kill David Blakely is currently on display in an England Museum.

The film "Dance With A Stranger" released in 1984 was based on the story of Ruth Ellis and David Blakely.  Miranda Richardson portrayed Ruth Ellis and Rupert Everett portrayed David Blakely.



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