Nightclub owner and socialite Ruth Ellis was convicted of murdering her lover David Blakely outside of a bar in Hampstead, UK. Ellis shot Blakely and then immediately gave herself up to police. Ellis never denied her intent even stating “It’s obvious when I shot him I intended to kill him,” during her trial.
It didn’t take long for the jury to make up their minds that Ellis was guilty, and came to a verdict in only 14 minutes. But what the court failed to listen to was how the shots may have been in her own defence. Blakely was a race car driver, and avid drinker. He started an affair with Ellis while engaged to another woman, and after finding out he impregnated Ellis he had become increasingly violent towards her. The family sought a reprieve, but Ellis stood by the charge feeling guilty for killing someone she claimed she was still in love with.
After Ellis’s death the story evoked national press, and helped build the case for abolishing the death penalty in the UK.