In the summer of 1953 RUTH ELLIS (Miranda Richardson), a glamorous nightclub hostess and mother of two, begins a tempestuous affair with handsome racing driver DAVID BLAKELY (Rupert Everett). Their liaison is marked by violent quarrels, witnessed by RUTH'S ten-year-old son ANDY and her friend, confidant and protector DESMOND CUSSON (Ian Holm).
As the relationship deteriorates David begins to drink heavily and Ruth becomes obsessive, causing her to lose her job and her home. Desmond takes her in as his companion, believing that she has ended her relationship with David, but the lovers continue to meet in secret. DESMOND discovers her betrayal and Ruth leaves him to live alone.
Desperate to remain with David, Ruth refuses to accept that he has tired of her. Following a miscarriage she turns to alcohol and tranquillisers simply to get through the day. David seeks refuge with his friends and begins another relationship. On Easter Sunday 1955, Ruth waits for David outside the Magdala public house in Hampstead. As he leaves, she confronts him and in a tragic moment of uncontrollable passion, shoots him dead.
Ruth Ellis was sent to the gallows on 13th July 1955. She was the last woman to be hanged in Britain and her controversial death stunned millions.