Hickson, Robert

Coal porter
Accused murderer
Worked in Hull, England, delivering coal for a coal merchant's yard. He had been depressed and prone to anger for some time, believing that his deaf wife, Sarah, was committing adultery with a (hearing) co-worker, Charles Richardson. She had in fact been seen several times "walking" with Richardson, and had visited the coal yard several times when she knew Hickson was out. One day, Hickson confronted Richardson, signing angrily, and was pulled away before it became a fight. 3 days later, Hickson went home at lunchtime to have lunch and change his clothes. Shortly afterward, neighbors heard the Hickson's 8-year-old hearing daughter screaming and crying, and found Sarah dead from a beating to the head and Hickson dying from a cut throat. The inquest concluded, from the daughter's testimony and that of neighbors, that Hickson had been angered when Sarah did not have clean clothes ready for him, perhaps because she had been spending time with Richardson instead, and beat her to death with a fireplace poker. He then committed suicide by slitting his own throat. Unusually, the jury returned a verdict of "temporary insanity" caused by Richardson's and Sarah's adultery, and Sarah's death was ruled a "justifiable homicide". Robert Hickson's death is the first known recorded case of a deaf person committing suicide.
Deaf Murder Casebook, p.21-28.
?-19 November 1841