PC Thompson, the off-duty police officer who happened to be in The Magdala on the night of the shooting, miles off his patch,and who arrested Ruth Ellis, told Detective Inspector Davies on 20th April 1955, that he had noticed a blonde woman wearing spectacles:
“She looked through a rippled type glass window of the saloon bar near the door…I could not see her face clearly as she was very close to the glass.”
My photograph shows an actual portion of the glass at the Magdala at that time. I tried, unsuccessfully, to look through from inside the building, and from outside, but could not distinguish anything from either side.
At the magistrates court PC Thompson stated:”I noticed a fair haired woman with spectacles looking through the saloon bar window.” He omits details about the rippled glass.
At the Old Bailey there were further subtle omissions. The rippled glass and Ruth’s appearance is omitted:”I noticed a woman looking through the saloon bar window…” I took this photograph, for which I was given special permission, outside the Magdala pub in Hampstead. It shows the plaque on the wall (far left) that was erected to mark the position of the shooting of David Blakely on 10th April 1955, twenty feet downhill from the main entrance, where the shooting was previously said to have taken place.
‘Witness’ Mrs Gladys Kensington Yule could not possibly have seen the action at the far end of the pub from where she was standing at the junction of South Hill Park and Parliament Hill.
The plaque was stolen shortly before the Appeal which Muriel Jakubait brought in 2003 but later found by the police following the result of the unsuccessful Appeal. The plaque is no longer on display. Four screw holes (not to be mistaken for bullet holes) which held the plaque in position, are clearly visible.
Ruth Ellis’s home – Sanderstead in Surrey.
According to the stories spun and repeated for 50 years, Ruth [Neilson] first met George Ellis at the Court Club in London in 1950. I now have evidence that Ruth had actually known George for several years before. A Sanderstead doctor who knew George Ellis saw Ruth at George’s Sanderstead Hill house/dental practice well before 1950.
Elm Cottage in Penn – spy Donald Maclean’s family home.
Rare photograph of ‘Granneys’ the Blakely family’s rented home in Witheridge Lane, Penn – given to me by a lady who stayed there during school holidays in the 1940s. Curiously the Blakelys renamed it ‘Albi‘ for the duration of their short stay, then renamed it Granneys when they moved out. The Griffith-Jones family lived closeby in ‘Drews’. Their son Mervyn Griffith-Jones assisted the prosecuting counsel, Christmas Humphreys, to hang Ruth Ellis at her trial. Griffith-Jones also prosecuted at the Stephen Ward trial in 1963. To complete the upper crust, establishment enclave in Witheridge Lane in Penn, Rt Hon The Earl Howe of RAC fame, lived at ‘Hatchitts‘ opposite ‘Granneys’.
Donald Maclean was buried in Penn churchyard.
‘Beaconshaw‘ was Soviet Super Spy Donald Maclean’s Tatsfield home, on the Surrey/Kent border, December 1950 to May 1951. According to Tatsfield residents, he often travelled back from London on the 706 Green Line bus and drank alone at the Old Ship. Since the publication of our book, I have discovered that Ruth used to visit Tatsfield. According to the book Tales of Tatsfield Ruth was an acquaintance of its author, the late Doris Geary. She wrote, “On the morning of the hanging, together with my husband…we took our car and drove along the Kent coast, in an effort to forget time and what was happening elsewhere. I kept telling myself it was not really my worry, but I had known Ruth as a kind, goodlooking woman; we had laughed and talked together, and we had liked each other.”
above – Goodwood Court, near Harley Street in London. Desmond Cussen lived here in the 1950s. I discovered that when Cussen originally moved into Goodwood Court he lived at Flat no 16 for a year, then moved to no 20.
below – 44 Egerton Gardens, London where Ruth Ellis lived with David Blakely from February 1955 until the day of the shooting two months later.
This house, next door to Dapdune in Leatherhead, was commandeered by the government during the 2nd World War for the Home Guard’s headquarters. It belonged to General Ironside, one of Churchill’s generals. My picture shows the late Mr John Steel outside the house. He served in the Home Guard with Desmond Cussen – a fascinating titbit omitted by authors of previous books about Ruth Ellis.
Above – Muriel Jakubait, Ruth Ellis’s sister, at what used to be the Little Club in Knightsbridge. These photographs are my copyright and may not be borrowed or reproduced.
Below – Muriel at The National Archives reading “Ruth Ellis’s Life Story” published in the Woman’s Sunday Mirror, apparently written while her sister was in Holloway prison awaiting execution.
Below – a photograph of the beauty queens in the 1951 film Lady Godiva Rides Again which was filmed at the Leas Cliff Hall in Folkestone. Ruth Ellis is 6th on the left (dark hair and white swimsuit). The picture was published in a May edition of The Folkestone Herald. Finding evidence of Ruth’s role in this film was fantastic… Muriel had no idea about it. But the find would not have been possible if Muriel hadn’t remembered that her sister Ruth was a friend of actress Diana Dors who was a regular visitor at the Court Club in London where Ruth worked as a hostess. That one small piece of information led me, over a period of weeks, and much searching, to the filming of Lady Godiva Rides again. And there was Ruth in the line-up of beauty queens. Incredible. I couldn’t believe my good fortune. This was fairly early on in my research for RUTH ELLIS MY SISTER’S SECRET LIFE. What I did feel at the time was a sense of unease. It was just one of the pieces of information that earlier ‘biographers’ had not found, or had chosen not to find for some reason. This actress role was starting to paint a very different picture of the Ruth Ellis that had been fed to a population greedy for information about her . Not long after the publication of our book I was asked to give my talk about Ruth Ellis at the Leas Cliff Hall to an audience of about 500 people, .
1. Copyright photo by Monica Weller of Mr Casserly, owner of the Atlantic Hotel in London W2 in the late 1950s – 1960s.
Desmond Cussen lived in Flat 543 at the hotel in the early 1960s. It was a place frequented by Dr Stephen Ward, Christine Keeler and John Profumo.
2. Copyright photo by Monica Weller of Muriel Jakubait (Ruth Ellis’s sister) with Peter Nolan. He managed the Little Club in Knightsbridge soon after Ruth Ellis’s death in 1955…Dorothy Foxon, the new owner, and who had been a close friend of Ruth Ellis, renamed it Dorothy’s Club.
below…Muriel visiting the house called Oak Bank in Warsash, near Southampton, where Ruth lived with her husband George Ellis between December 1950 and May 1951.
below – Muriel (left) with Margaret, a Warsash resident, outside the College of Maritime Studies in Warsash. Margaret saw Ruth around the village most days when she lived there with George Ellis in 1951.
below – A letter from Ruth Ellis’s solicitor Cardew-Smith and Ross of 27 Ely Place, which was released at The National Archives after the publication of our book in 2005. It states clearly that Desmond Cussen (who was responsible for choosing the solicitor for Ruth Ellis) will be called as a prosecution witness. Despite this, Cussen visited Ruth in prison every day.
below – The New Atlantic Hotel previously called the Atlantic Hotel, where Desmond Cussen lived from approximately 1962 to 1964. It was frequented by characters involved in the Profumo Scandal.
below – the evening before Muriel Jakubait’s Appeal in 2003, the article below appeared in the Evening Standard. It may give readers an idea as to how statements from witnesses even nearly 50 years after Ruth Ellis’s death were being manipulated. Moreen Gleeson who lived in Hampstead in 1955 had come across Ruth [I believe in Tanza Road] on the evening of 10 April 1955 shortly before the shooting of David Blakely. Not long before the Appeal Moreen said in a letter to Muriel: “I had assumed that Ruth was thinking of taking her own life and could not conceive that she would do so with this man [Desmond Cussen] looking after her”. Nowhere in the letter did Moreen Gleeson say Ruth Ellis was planning to use the gun she had in her bag on Blakely. I would like to know who gave the conflicting information to the Evening Standard the night before the Appeal and why!
below – A photo of Ruth Ellis’s close friend Vickie Martin. It was taken in Switzerland on 3 September 1950. Vickie was from a humble background and was ‘finished’ in Switzerland courtesy of Dr Stephen Ward.
To give an idea of timing, the photo was taken two months before Ruth married George Ellis on 8 November 1950…and 13 years before the Profumo scandal in 1963.
Both Vickie Martin and Ruth Ellis worked at the Court Club in London.
28 Culross Street, London update
I have been revisiting the ‘sleeping arrangements’ at 28 Culross Street, London, where David Blakely lived.
It is curious that, according to the electoral register in 1951, someone called Desmond A English lived at that address with David Blakely and John B Blakely. Despite a thorough search on Ancestry.com Desmond A English doesn’t seem to appear again, anywhere. Although a Desmond Cussen whose profession was an accountant did enter the country on the ship from Calcutta, the Braemar Castle, on 29 April 1953, giving his address as South Africa House, London.
John B Blakely (David Blakely’s elder brother known by his middle name Brian) lived at 28 Culross Street from 1947 to 1958.