By the standards of the day, the legal contract that Henry Kimberley entered into with his partner Harriet Stewart was generous enough. The couple had been living together for 17 years and now, on Christmas Day, 1884, they had agreed to separate amicably.
Kimberleys share of their joint assets was their £20 in savings and the piano, while Harriet would keep the house he had bought.
It seemed all in perfect order until, almost at once, Kimberley relented. Lets cancel it, he told Harriet. I would like you to come back to me.
No, thank you, she replied curtly. Whats yours is yours, and whats mine is mine.
On December 27th, 1885, when the ink on their contract was hardly dry, Kimberley spotted Harriet going into the White Hart Inn in Birmingham city centre, with her friend Mrs. Emma Palmer, 39. Confronting them, he said, Please come back to me, Harriet. The reply was short and definite: No.
Helplessly, Kimberley turned to Mrs. Palmer. Wont you persuade her that I love her still? he pleaded. She shook her head, whereupon Kimberley pulled out a gun and shot them both.
A barman rushed forward to grapple with the gunman and Kimberley fired at him too, but helped by other customers he managed to detain the frustrated lover until the police arrived.
Both women were wounded by the shots. Harriet survived, but Mrs. Palmer died in hospital 12 days later. Tried for her murder at Birmingham Assizes the following February, Kimberley was hanged on Tuesday, March 17th, 1885, at the citys Winson Green Prison the first execution there since 1802.