Executed for murdering his wife, February 14th, 1732
Robert Hallam was a native of London, and intended by his parents for a maritime life, in preparation for which they had him instructed in navigation, and then apprenticed him to the captain of a trading vessel. He served his time with fidelity, acquired the character of an able seaman, and afterwards went on board several vessels as a mate, and was held in great reputation.
On his return to London he married a young woman, who being averse to his going again to sea, he purchased two of the Gravesend wherries, and continued to get his living on the Thames nine years.
His family being increased by several children, he took a public house, which was chiefly attended to by his wife, while he still pursued his business as a proprietor of the Gravesend boats.
The taking an alehouse was an unfortunate circumstance for Hallam; for the house being frequented by the lowest of the people, and his wife being addicted to drinking, the place was a perpetual scene of riot and confusion.
Hallam, returning from his business one evening, found his wife intoxicated: being irritated by this circumstance, he expressed his sentiments with great freedom; and she replying with some warmth, he beat her so as to leave evident marks of resentment on her face.
Hallam's son now told his father that a waterman who lodged in the house frequently slept with his mother; and some persons present likewise hinting that this was probable, from certain familiarities they had observed between the woman and the waterman, Hallam charged his wife with being unfaithful to his bed, and she confessed that she had been so; on which he beat her in a more severe manner than before.
Not long after this he came home late at night, and knocked at the door;. but, no one coming to let him in, he procured a ladder to get in at the window; when his wife appeared, and admitted him. On his asking the reason why she did not sooner open the door, she said she had been asleep, and did not hear him; but she afterwards confessed that she had a man with her, and had let him out at a back window before she opened the door to her husband.
The infidelity of Hallam's wife tempted him to equal indulgence of his irregular passions: he had illicit connexions with several women, and, in particular, seduced the wife of a waterman, which broke the husband's heart, and he died in consequence of the affair.
On a particular night Hallam came home very much in liquor, and went to bed, desiring his wife to undress herself, and come to bed likewise. She sat, partly undressed, on the side of the bed, as if afraid to go in; while he became quite enraged at her paying no regard to what he said. At length she ran downstairs, and he followed her, and locked the street-door to prevent her going out. On this she ran up into the dining-room, whither he likewise followed her, and struck her several times. He then went into another room for his cane, and she locked him in.
Enraged at this, he broke open the door, and, seizing her in his arms, threw her out of the window, with her head foremost, and her back to the ground, so that, on her falling, her back was broken, her skull fractured, and she instantly expired. A person passing just before she fell heard her cry out "Murder! for God's sake! for Christ's sake! for our family's sake! for our children's sake, don't murder me, don't throw me out of the window!"
We give the above circumstances us what were sworn to on the trial, in consequence of which the jury found Hallam guilty, and he received sentence of death: but the prisoner denied the fact, insisting that she threw herself out of the window before he got into the room; and he persisted in avowing his innocence to the last hour of his life. He was executed at Tyburn, February 14, 1732.