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The BBC's Stephen Cape
"It's now emerged that another man was involved"
 real 28k

Monday, 29 November, 1999, 06:26 GMT
Hope of 'justice' for Ruth Ellis
Holloway Prison Crowds outside Holloway Prison for Ellis's execution

A south Wales solicitor who recently helped clear the name of a man hanged in 1952 has been called in to launch a legal bid to clear Ruth Ellis of murder.

Miss Ellis was the last woman to be executed in Britain after killing her lover David Blakely outside a pub in Hampstead, north London, in1955.

Last year solicitor Bernard de Maid cleared Somali seaman Mahmood Mattan, who was hanged in Cardiff for killing shopkeeper Lily Volpert.

Ruth Ellis and David Blakely Ruth Ellis and her lover David Blakely

Ruth Ellis's sister, Muriel Jakubait, who is now 77 and lives in Woking, Surrey, has fought a lifelong campaign to clear her sister's name.

She wants her conviction reduced to manslaughter and she contacted Mr de Maid after his success in the Mattan case.

She said the jury was never told that Blakely treated Ellis violently and caused her to miscarry by punching her in the stomach.

Mr de Maid will use evidence that was originally brought to light in the 1970s but which Scotland Yard failed to act upon.

The jury, which convicted Ms Ellis in 14 minutes, was not told that she had been raped by her father as a child, and was addicted to anti-depressants.

Ms Jakubait told the programme: "She didn't intend to do it, she was forced to do it. my sister wasn't in her right mind."

'Second boyfriend's role'

It is thought that had a jury of today heard these facts, the outcome of the trial might have been different.

The case will go to the Criminal Cases Review Commission, who will examine it before deciding whether or not it should go to the Court of Appeal.

Although the commission was set up to investigate miscarriages of justice, it gives priority to cases involving serving prisoners.

Mr de Maid will seek to highlight the role played in the case by another of Ellis's boyfriends, Desmond Cousens.

He is alleged to have given her the gun and taught her to shoot before driving her to the murder scene.

Ellis refused to implicate Mr Cousens during her trial. He has since died.

A special programme Ruth Ellis: A Life for A Life, is being shown on BBC One at 2215 GMT on Sunday.

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See also:
28 Dec 98 |  UK
Ruth Ellis lawyers set to reopen case
12 Aug 98 |  UK
Sister seeks Ruth Ellis review
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