29 August 1865
Yesterday, an inquest was held at the Graiseley brook Inn, Wolverhampton, before Mr. T.M. Phillips, coroner, on the body of the young woman Harriet Seagar, who was murdered by Charles Christopher Robinson, at the residence of both in Sidney street, in that town, on Saturday evening. Mr. Thomas Walker, solicitor, was present watching the case, for the defence; and Mr. Bartlett was there, instructed by the Chief Constable and the friends of the deceased, for the prosecution.
Emma Silleto, servant to Mr. Isaiah Fisher, of the Queen's Arms, deposed that on Saturday evening between 5 and 6 o'clock she saw Robinson coming down the stairs of Mr. Josiah Fisher's house with a razor having blood upon it in his hand. She asked him what he had done to the deceased, and he said, "I have shot her." She then called in Mr. Bennett, who lived near, and who came in. When Robinson said he had shot the deceased he pointed to where she was lying. At 4 o'clock in the afternoon witness went to the back of Mr. Josiah Fisher's house. The deceased was then crying, and Robinson was standing near her. Half an hour afterwards she went again, and deceased was still crying and was cleaning knives and forks, Robinson standing by her.
By Mr. Walker - When Robinson came downstairs he went into the back kitchen, through the window of which she saw him cut his throat three times as he stood before a looking glass hung on the wall. His clothes were then covered in blood.
William Bennett, nailcutter, deposed that he lived near to Mr. Josiah Fisher. Saw the deceased and Robinson walking out on apparently friendly terms on Friday evening. Had never seen them quarrel. At about a quarter to 6 on Saturday he heard a report of a gun in the next yard, but thought nothing of it.
Silleto then came to him and said that "Charley had killed Harriet." he went and saw Robinson standing opposite the back kitchen door with his throat cut. He pointed to the kitchen and said, "I have killed her." Witness looked through the kitchen window and then went for the doctor. He returned with Mr. Summers, surgeon. Alfred Fullwood, aged 8, who lived with his parents in Ablow street, deposed that he was playing with a son of Mr. Josiah Fisher in Mr. Isaiah Fisher's yard.
His companion told him that he had seen Robinson strike the deceased while she was sweeping the yard. Previously the witness seen him attempt to kiss the deceased; she pushed him away, and he then struck her in the face. She was crying before he did so. Shortly afterwards, and while deceased was in the back kitchen, Robinson went out and sent him (witness) away, shutting the back door after him.
Mary Ann Lewis, of Ablow street, deposed that on Saturday she heard the report of a gun in Mr. Josiah Fisher's house, and saw Silleto screaming. Went into the house and saw Robinson standing near the back kitchen door, with blood flowing from his throat. Asked him what he had done, but he made no answer, but in reply to a question, "Where is Harriet?" he pointed to the kitchen. Witness entered, and saw Seagar lying on the floor, partly on her left side, as though she had fallen upon her face, and then turned slightly over. On her throat there was a large wound. She was quite dead. Went upstairs to Robinson's bedroom. A gun was leaning against the dressing table, and it seemed as if one had recently been discharged. The room was in much disorder. The deceased was a respectable, steady, and modest girl.
George Henry Wilson, clerk, of Melbourne street, deposed that Robinson was an intimate friend of his. He was paying his attention to the deceased, and they were always on the best of terms. On Saturday afternoon he was with the two from about 3 to half past 4 o'clock. Did not think that Robinson was sober. He and Seagar were very friendly when he left. Robinson told the witness at one time during the afternoon that the deceased was crying, but he did not know what about. He was very dull and sullen.
Josiah Fisher deposed that he was a house agent, and the deceased lived with him as servant of all work. Robinson lodged with him, and was his first cousin. He was 18 years of age and was entitled to a considerable amount of property when he became of age. On Saturday afternoon witness and his wife went to Codsall, leaving the deceased at work, and Robinson and Wilson in the garden. Robinson had for two years paid his addresses to the deceased with a view to marriage. Six or seven weeks ago there was a quarrel between them, and she did not speak to him for some time. In February an accident occurred which showed that Robinson was suffering from aberration of mind. On Wednesday night he was drunk, returned home much excited, and threatened the witness. Robinson had taken to drinking of late. His committing a murder was the last thing witness should have thought of.
Police Inspector Thomas deposed that he went to Mr. Fisher's house on Saturday evening. He saw the deceased lying on the floor with her throat cut, and quite dead. In Robinson's bedroom he found a loaded gun, with marks of blood upon it, and there was also a quantity of powder, caps, and shot near. The gun had evidently been previously discharged, inasmuch as he found the ceiling in one of the room impregnated with shots.
Mr. Llewellyn Summers, surgeon, deposed that he was called into Mr. Fisher's house, at about 6 o'clock, on Saturday evening. he found the prisoner held on the ground, and with a wound in his throat. The deceased was lying on the floor of the back kitchen, quite dead, and her throat cut right to the spine - a cut such as would be inflicted by a razor. The body was warm. He dressed the wound of Robinson as soon as he would let him do so, for he resisted strongly at first. He was quite rational.
The girl Silleto was recalled, and said that she did not see Robinson attempt to kiss the deceased while she was sweeping the yard. The Coroner thought that it would be well for a post mortem examination to be made.
The jury first of all thought that it was unnecessary, but subsequently assented to it. The Coroner also thought that Robinson should be present at the adjourned inquiry. Mr. Vincent Jackson, surgeon, stated that the murderer's wound was four inches in length, but that it had severed none of the principal arteries, and he thought that he would be able to attend in a fortnight. The Coroner, therefore, adjourned the inquiry until this day (Tuesday) fortnight, at 2 o'clock.