Mexborough & Swinton Times – Saturday 14 January 1922
Husband and Wife
Shocking Domestic Tragedy at Mexborough
Woman Killed In the Hearth
Alleged Murder and Attempted Suicide
Fearful Kitchen Scene
Son’s Appalling Experience
The eastern district of Mexborough was startled on Friday last by a shocking domestic tragedy which, from available accounts, has all the appearance of a brutal murder.
The victim was Edith Alexander Robinson, aged 51, the wife of George Harry Robinson, aged 50, a mineworker of 32, Crossgate, Mexborough. The woman died almost instantly, of horrible razor wounds in the throat, and it is said by the eldest son of the couple that these were inflicted by the husband, who then attempted suicide, wounding himself severely in the throat with the same razor or another, and being rescued from death by the prompt summoning of medical aid. The news of the terrible affair was quickly spread around the district, and Crossgate, a street behind and parallel with Doncaster Road, was thronged for the rest of the day (the thing is said to have been done at about 11:30 in the morning) with the usual crowd of morbid sightseers.
The Robinson Household
Robinson and his wife came to Mexborough from Ashton under Lyme 17 years ago, and settled with their family in the home of a man named George Schofield, a connection by marriage of Mr Robinson, and now in his 80th year. Their family now consists of three sons, the eldest aged 25, and a daughter aged 16. The eldest son, who figures prominently in this case is a single linesman employed with the London and North Western Railway and resides at Willesden, North London. The other two boys are employed on the great Central Railway at Mexborough, and the girl in a Mexborough bakehouse.
The household at 32 Crossgate, ordinary consised of the Robinsons, the two younger sons, the daughter and the elderly relative, Mr Schofield. The eldest son George Victor Robinson, came home on Wednesday night, having been urgently summoned by telegram, from one of the brothers John Wadham.
When he arrived he found the state of decided unpleasantness existed between his father and mother, most of the local rumour and gossip this matter has been discounted, it may be set down at probable that the untenable relationship the couple arose from jealousy and perhaps from misunderstanding.
They had lived happily together for the greatest part of their married life, but for 12 months there had been an estrangement which was gradually growing worse. Their quarrel, whatever its nature, fluctuated between short periods of acute friction and longer intervals of sullenness. Sometimes there were altercations, but oftener the unhappy couple were not on speaking terms. Accounts vary as to the state of relations immediately preceding the tragedy, but there is little reason to doubt that there were no happier than they had been for some time past. It is said that there had been a dispute during Thursday night, but we have not thought it right, in view of the distressed condition of the family, to enquire closely into this feature of the terrible business, though it will be necessarily have to be investigated by the competent authorities.
A Kitchen Drama
If the only account so far available is established as truthful and reliable, the unfortunate woman met her death with terrible swiftness and directness. The eldest son, home from Willesden, had been breakfasting and was seated at the kitchen table, reading. His father were shaving at the corner of the table, being seated on a stool, by the hearth rug. Mr Robinson was kneeling by the hearth, about midway between the husband and son, polishing brasses.
Suddenly Mrs Robinson made at a muttered remark, evidently intended for her husband. The son says he did not catch what it was, but according to his account, immediately it was altered his father wheeled round and with the razor he had been using slashed her throat deeply from ear to ear. The poor woman sat down in a welter of blood, without a moan. The so this n, astounded and horrified, reached forward and caught his mother’s body as it toppled over. He states that as he held his mother he heard his father say, “That puts an end to it. Now I’ll cut my own,” and a moment later the man fell heavily to the hearth, and lay prostrate by the body of his wife, with a nasty razor wound in his own throat.
A Horrible Sight
The distracted son managed to give the alarm, and soon the house was filled with neighbours. A passing railwayman ran for the doctor and the police. Doctor J Gardner was there in a few minutes, as soon after P.c. Meadwell arrived. The woman was beyond aid, indeed so terrible was the wound inflicted on her that she was almost decapitated. The man was fast bleeding to death. The scene was horrible beyond imagination. Doctor Gardner quickly performed first aid on the man, and the police, requisitioning a greengrocer’s lorry from the street, and wrapping Robinson in sacking to protect him from the weather and hiding from the gaze of the excited crowd that had already gathered, hurried him to the Montagu hospital.
We understand that Robinson was conscious before he was taken from the house, that he faintly made a remark to the police. When the body of the woman had been taken from the kitchen, the son gave to the police an account of what had happened. This narrative is based on that account. There were only three persons in the house at that time of the tragedy – Robinson, his wife, and their eldest son. The three younger children were out at work, and Schofield had gone out for a walk.
We understand that the eldest son, an intelligent and affectionate lad, deeply attached to his mother, and on good terms with his father, had made, since his arrival last Wednesday some effort to smooth over the trouble between his parents, and had come to the conclusion that it would be best to take his mother back to London for a holiday, a cause to which she agreed, and his bag was packed for the return journey. We believe, indeed, that he had intended to go that night or the following day, having obtained only a short leave.
A Respectable Family
Whatever the cause and extent of the bitterness between them, the Robinsons individually were held in respect by the neighbourhood in which they live. Mrs Robinson has been described by tradespeople and others in that district to whom she was well known as a nice, pleasant, cheerful woman, very fond and proud of their children and Robinson is believed to have been an affectionate father. Indeed the children were on very good terms with their parents, however unfortunate when relations between the two.
Robinson is a man of medium height and build, with a rather heavy, drooping moustache. He was employed as a by-worker or dataller at the Barnburgh colliery, and had the reputation of a clever and industrious workman. He had many friends, too, and is said to have been distinguished by quiet, sensible behaviour in company, and had an aptitude for intelligent conversation on quite a wide range of subjects. So far as we can gather, he is not an intemperate or habitually violent man. His estrangement from his wife was known or suspected in the immediate neighbourhood, but generally he is well spoken of.
Robinson recovered full consciousness within an hour of being admitted to the hospital, and all though his condition on Friday afternoon was rather critical, he quickly began to mend, and by Saturday evening his recovery was certain. He taught animatedly to the police, while in custody, and has been visited by several of his relatives. The greatest sympathy is felt for young people upon whom this great shadow has fallen, and particularly for the eldest boy in the terrible ordeal to which he was submitted as well as the cruel position in which he is now placed.
Not since 1905 has Mexborough been shaken by domestic tragedy of this appalling nature.