chapter  2
28 Pages


On the morning of 21 November, 1888, according to a local newspaper, the town of Preston was ‘startled’ by the rumour that ‘a butcher had kicked his wife to death’ the previous night. While the tragedy conveyed nothing of the sensation of the recent ‘Jack the Ripper’ murders, ‘those appalling incidents or horrible tactics which have so significantly characterized the brutal, blood curdling butcheries in the South of England’, and lacked the extreme violence which engaged the ‘morbid minded’, it still conveyed an important lesson. The affair provided another example ‘of the infernal, inhuman fatal use the clog has ever had in Preston, and brings to justice, no doubt, a man who, perhaps naturally, still most unfortunately, looked for persuasion and correction in his foot instead of his head’.1