The last woman to be hanged in UK 1955: Ruth Ellis hanged for killing lover On 10 th April 1955 Ruth Ellis stood outside the Magdala, a pub in Hampstead, waiting for her lover David Blakely to emerge. As he stepped from the pub with his friend Clive Gunnell and began to open the door to his car, she took a .38 Smith & Wesson gun out of her handbag and fired the first of six shots. Four entered Blakely’s body, one ricocheted into the base of the thumb of a passer-by and the last was never found. It was later discovered that one of the bullets had been shot from a distance of three inches into Blakely’s back.
Ruth Ellis: the aftermath The trial and punishment of Ruth Ellis became notorious as she was the last woman in England to be executed. The death penalty in the UK was suspended in 1965 and permanently removed in 1970. Ruth Ellis' family campaigned for her murder conviction to be reduced to manslaughter on the grounds of provocation . Through the Criminal Cases Review Commission they brought the case to the Court of Appeal in September 2003. They argued Ellis was suffering "battered woman syndrome". She had suffered a miscarriage just 10 days before the killing after David Blakely had punched her in the stomach. But the appeal judges ruled she had been properly convicted of murder according to the law as it stood at the time. The defence of diminished responsibility did not then exist.