10 January 1866
Charles Christopher Robinson was executed on Tuesday morning in front of the county gaol at Stafford, in presence of 4000 spectators. Before his death he acknowledged the justice of his sentence. On the scaffold he exclaimed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." His death was not instantaneous. He made a statement to the chaplain but wished it to be kept from the public. Robinson would have been 19 next May. His victim was somewhat older, but she would have been only in her 19th year. They had for a long time been affianced, and lived together in the house in which the murder was committed. The facts of the murder may be briefly told. On the afternoon, of Saturday, the 26th of August, Mr. and Mrs. Fisher went out for a drive in the country, leaving Robinson and Harriet Seagar alone in the house, with a young man named Wilson, a companion of Robinson, in the garden. During the afternoon the girl was seen by a servant girl of Mr. Fisher's brother, who had gone to the house on an errand, crying as she stood cleaning knives in the brewhouse. Robinson at the time stood leaning against the door. Shortly afterwards a nephew of Mr. Fisher, a little boy, saw Robinson strike Seagar with his open hand in her face because she would not allow him to kiss her. The young man alluded to left about 4 o'clock, and Robinson, who had been shooting sparrows with him in the garden with a small gun, went into the house. About a quarter past 4 the neighbours were alarmed by a cry that Robinson had shot Harriet, and upon entering the brewhouse the poor girl was found lying dead on the floor in a pool of blood, with her throat cut. At the time the neighbours entered the house Robinson was observed coming downstairs, with an open razor in his hand. He was then in his shirt sleeves, for he had not washed or dressed himself during the day. He went into the scullery where his victim lay dead on the floor, and, standing in front of a looking glass that was hanging upon the wall, he deliberately cut his throat three times with the razor. At this juncture he was secured, a surgeon was sent for, and his self inflicted wounds were sewn up after some resistance on his part. The defence upon the trial, however, was, first, that Seagar had committed suicide, and that the prisoner in grief attempted his own life; and, next, that he was insane when he committed the murder, insanity being hereditary in his family, as was shown by the fact of his half sister being then in a lunatic asylum. It could not, however, be shown that he was insane either before or after the murder. The executioner was a man named Smith, of Dudley, who has for some years performed the duties of hangman at Stafford.