On Thursday last week, a very serious charge was preferred against a man named Michael Puckridge, who resides at Winbush, a small village in Northumberland. The circumstances, as detailed before the board of guardians, are of a harrowing nature.
It appears that Puckridge has lived very unhappily with his wife, whose life he has threatened on more than one occasion. Most probably he had long contemplated the wicked design which he carried out but too successfully about a fortnight since.
Mrs Puckridge, who is an interesting looking young woman, has for a long time past suffered from varicose veins in the legs. Her husband told her that he possessed an infallible remedy for this ailment.
She was induced by her tormentor to allow herself to be tied to a plank, which he placed across two chairs. When the poor woman was bound and helpless, Puckridge deliberately and persistently tickled the soles of her feet with a feather.
For a long time he continued to operate upon his unhappy victim, who was rendered frantic by the process. Eventually she swooned, whereupon her husband released her. It soon became but too manifest that the light of reason had fled. Mrs Puckridge was taken to the workhouse, where she was placed with the insane patients.
A little girl who lived in the house, niece of the ill-used woman, spoke to one or two of the neighbours, saying her aunt had been tied to a plank, and that her uncle, so she believed, had cruelly ill-treated her.
An inquiry was instituted, and there is every reason to believe that Mrs Puckridge had been driven out of her mind in the way already described. But the result of the investigation is not yet known.
The Illustrated Police News, December 11, 1869
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