When the body of Charlotte Pugsley, a maid, of Freshford, near Bath, was found in Nightingale Valley, later the site of the Clifton suspension bridge, police inquiries led to her married boy friend, John Beale, 30.

Charlotte had been shot, after which her throat was cut so severely that her head was almost severed. Her body had been thrown over the edge of a path into the valley where, if it had not caught on an outcrop of trees, it would have rolled into the dense undergrowth of the valley floor and probably never been discovered.

Beale killed her after promising to marry her, despite having a wife already. When he was arrested police searched his room and discovered among other things three brand-new dresses Charlotte had bought in anticipation of her wedding.

He was tried at Taunton Assizes and hanged on Tuesday, January 12th, 1858, by William Calcraft. Just before the execution the prison governor received a note from a man suffering from a neck wart. He asked if it would be possible for him to rub his afflicted part on the executed man to effect a cure. The governor told him “no.”