"I'LL shoot you both," furious William Handy warned. And in part he kept his word - he killed one of them after pointing a gun through a window at his Hampshire pub.

Shepherd Esau Ketty had been drinking at Handy's pub at Stubbington when Thomas Muckett, the licencee's brother-in-law, arrived. Within minutes the relatives began arguing, and though it never escalated into violence, the row was still going on at 3am when the trio went outside.

It was at this point that Ketty in trying to act as peacemaker was knocked to the ground as he stepped between the two men.

Handy then stormed off, threatening to shoot them, before slamming the front door.

Ketty discretely walked off, leaving Muckett leaning against some pales, but had not gone far when he heard the report of a gun being fired.

Handy roused farm labourer Thomas Knight and the two men returned to the pub where Handy stood over Muckett's body, lamenting: "There is very bad accident happened at our house tonight - our Tom is dead. We had a few words and wrath arose and I shot him."

Ketty and his son then turned up and saw the corpse stretched out on the floor. Handy approached them, weeping: "There he lies, poor fellow."

After Ketty's son had left to bring Muckett's brother to the pub, Handy remained virtually silent, apart from revealing he did not know the gun was loaded and had only fired it as a frightener. "It snapped twice but went off the third time."

The group was soon joined by tithingman James Newlyn and it was to him Handy finally revealed what had led up to the shooting. Showing dirt on his trousers, Handy accused Ketty and his brother-in-law of earlier "ill-using" him on the road and complained Muckett had also assaulted his wife.

"I undressed myself and got into bed but Muckett and Ketty continued to beat the door and shutters. I went to the window and told them if they did not go, I would shoot them. I did not know the gun was loaded. I merely intended to frighten them in hopes they would leave the house. Knowing I had shot one, I ran downstairs and brought Muckett indoors, not quite dead, as he muttered a little but did not speak."

Daniel Bartholemew, the local blacksmith, called at Handy's home at about 6am and commenting that it was "a bad affair," Handy told him: "The gun snapped twice and went off the third time on the old cap."

Bartholemew remarked: "Dear me, was that sufficient time for your anger to have cooled?" and Handy replied: "Yes, it was."

The gruesome details were revealed when coroner L B Longcroft opened an inquest into the killing the following day, April 3, 1839.

The only other meaningful witness was Doctor Andrews who reported that 12-18 shots had penetrated Muckett's skull and lodged in the brain. Part of his skull had also been carried into it.

Handy, who attended the hearing, said nothing throughout and when the jury without hesitation returned a verdict of wilful murder, he apparently "did not appear impressed with the awfulness of his situation."

Little detail was recorded of his appearance at Hampshire Assizes on July 22 when he admitted manslaughter and was jailed for 12 months.