Monday, 27 June 2011

string 'em up

You probably know that Ruth Ellis was the last English woman to hang. I didn't know the whole story, and I suppose I still don't, but I do know that Gladys Yule was shot in the hand by one of Ruth's stray bullets, and she said:

Dont let us turn Ruth Ellis into a national heroine. I stood petrified and watched her kill David Blakely in cold blood. Do these people realise Ruth Ellis shot Blakely to the danger of the public. She might easily have killed me, an innocent passer-by, a complete stranger. Let us remain a law-abiding country where citizens can live and walk about in peace and safety.

Gladys Yule fought indefatigably against any attempt to reprieve Ellis, and Ellis was not reprieved. This is a letter Ellis wrote on the morning of her death:

Dear Mr Simmons,

The time is seven o'clock am -- everyone is simply wonderful in Holloway. This is just for you to console my family with the thought that I did not change my way of thinking at the last moment. Or break my promise to David's mother [in a previous letter to Mrs Cook, Ruth had confirmed her acceptance of an eye-for-an-eye, and was resigned to die so that his death could be repaid in some way]. Well Mr Simmons, I have told the truth, and that's all I can do. Thanks once again,



I think Gladys might have been the daughter of Lady Annie Henrietta Yule, heiress of Jute millionaire Sir David Yule. Lady Yule certainly had a daughter called Gladys. She also commissioned Nahlin, a very beautiful yacht which King Edward VIII chartered in 1936 for a trip with Mrs Wallis Simpson, and we all know what that means.


John Finnemore said...

I know this is a serious subject, but were you REALLY capable of reading that article and yet not feeling it worthy of mention that the Crown Prosecutor was named Mr Christmas Humphrey?

Robert Hudson said...

My best friend at school was called Christmas Humphrey, and so was his best friend. What's so worthy of mention?