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Ruth Ellis and Public Contestation of the Death Penalty

NCJ Number
Howard Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 50 Issue: 5 Dated: December 2011 Pages: 492-504
Lizzie Seal
Date Published
December 2011
13 pages
This article examines the case of Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be executed in England and Wales.
This article examines public reactions to the case of Ruth Ellis through an analysis of letters sent to the Home Secretary. The vast majority of these requested a reprieve, and highlighted themes such as her status as a mother, the murder as a crime of passion, David Blakely's mistreatment of her and the unfairness of applying the death penalty in her case. The author argues that one needs to analyze the public's views on Ruth Ellis in order to understand why her case was a pivotal one in turning the tide against capital punishment as a mandatory penalty for murder. (Published Abstract)