Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

RUTH ELLIS: THE LAST TO HANG

The Final Day

All of us are dwarfs mounted on the shoulders of giants, so that we can see further than they.
Bernard of Chartres 12th century theologian

On Easter Sunday, at about nine oclock, Ruth rang the Findlater flat for the final time. Eventually, Ant answered the telephone. Ruth said to him, "I hope you are having an enjoyable holiday, because you have ruined mine." Ant hung up on her without replying.

In her trial evidence, Ruth stated that she could not recall how she spent her Sunday. She made Andy go to bed at about seven-thirty in the evening and at some stage during the day she took down all of Davids photographs, replacing them with ones of herself. She later said, "I was very upset and I had a peculiar idea I wanted to kill David." She was no doubt drinking, more and more often; it was now Pernod, the deadly French apéritif.

At Tanza Road, the occupants were up and about making breakfast, dosing themselves with aspirin to ward off their hangovers, and bracing themselves for another day of attack and abuse from Ruth. At lunchtime, Carole, Ant and David met up with Clive Gunnell at the Magdala for drinks and it was agreed Clive would spend the evening with them at the flat. That afternoon, they all went up to Hampstead Heath and visited the Easter fairground which was in full swing there. David wandered around with his godchild, Francesca, perched on his shoulders. He was happy and relaxed and seemed to be enjoying his freedom from Ruth.

She was spending the afternoon and evening with Desmond, tanking up on Pernod. It was her third straight day with little or no sleep. Her frail, tiny body was fuelled on alcohol, nicotine, drugs and an aching desire for revenge on the man who had walked over her just once too often.

Later in the day, David and his friends returned to the Findlaters' place and spent a quiet evening listening to gramophone records, drinking and smoking the hours away. They no doubt discussed many things. Ruth, and her frenzied activities throughout the last forty-eight hours would probably have featured prominently.

At about 8.45 pm, Carole ran out of cigarettes and David agreed to pop down to the Magdala and get her a fresh supply. Clive went along to help bring back some beer to top up their dwindling stock and they drove off in Davids car. The pub was less than a mile away, a good, brisk ten-minute walk for two fit young men, but they drove there nevertheless. Had they gone on foot, it is conceivable that the rest of the nights events would have unfolded differently. Had Ruth seen the car outside the house in Tanza Road, she may well not have confronted David, but driven off with Cussen and cooled down. Then again she might have shot not just David but anyone else who appeared on the scene, particularly Carole and Ant, who she had come to loathe.

Sir Isaac Newton once said, "I do not know what I appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy, playing on the sea-shore...whilst the great ocean of truth lay undiscovered before me." 

For Ruth, the time had come to cross that great ocean and finally come face to face with her own personal demons. Thirty minutes later, David Blakely was lying dead, his body torn and ravaged by gunshot wounds. Ruth herself had only thirteen weeks and two days before she herself would pay the ultimate price then required by the law to atone for her actions.

 

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