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
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.