British Executions

Charles Smith


Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 9 May 1887

Crime Location:

Execution Place: Oxford

Method: unknown

Executioner: unknown


Smith was a sixty three year old gypsy living at Cowley, Oxfordshire, and for many years had been mistreating his wife, more than once severely beating her with a stick. At the time of the murder they were living in abject poverty, in a tent, and were very miserable. On the night of 19th February, Smith and his wife, and their two children went to bed. Almost at once he began to attack his wife beside the sleeping children. One awoke and saw Smith brandishing a hammer; as Mrs Smith cried out, the other child awoke and went to fetch help. Mrs Smith crawled from the tent, then collapsed and died. Convicted at Reading Assizes by Baron Huddlestone after a plea of manslaughter was rejected. There was no motive suggested for the brutal murder. Smith was hanged on the 9th May 1887 in Oxford.