CRIME FILE - Famous criminal:
Ellis worked hard and, in 1953, became the manager of a nightclub where she met David Blakely. He was a man with public school manners and expensive tastes but also a racing driver with a passion for fast cars and hard drinking. At the time of their meeting, Blakely was engaged to another woman but soon moved in with Ellis, who lived in an apartment above the nightclub. He was smitten and began proposing marriage. Ellis initially desisted, as she was still legally married to George Ellis, but eventually accepted.
Blakely began to show a jealous side and spent progressively more time at the nightclub, where he could keep an eye on Ellis, who enjoyed much male attention from her customers. Blakely’s behaviour began to have an adverse effect on her earnings and his inheritance was all but depleted in the funding of his lavish lifestyle and on developing a racing car. Fuelled by frustration and alcohol, the couple began fighting over money issues and before long these fights became violent. Blakely had been keeping another mistress, which had provoked jealousy in Ellis. She then took another lover, the slightly older Desmond Cussen, who had disliked Blakely. Cussen was an RAF pilot, trained in South Africa, who flew bombers in World War II and later became an accountant.
The situation was spinning out of control and on the evening of Easter Sunday, 10 April 1955, Ellis went to find Blakely at The Magdala public house in Hampstead, London. She waited outside whilst Blakely and his friend, Clive Gunnell, finished their drinks and left the pub. As they were getting into Blakely’s car, Ellis called out his name and then fired four rounds into his body. The fifth bullet, missing its mark, ricocheted off the pavement, hitting the hand of Gladys Kensington Yule, who was on her way into the pub with her banker husband. Ellis knew exactly what she was doing and made no attempt to flee the scene. Instead, she calmly turned to Gunnell and told him to call the police.