A HOUSEHOLDER lashed out with a flat iron at an intruder but struck a neighbour instead!

Rose Ford, a mariner's wife, had run out of her house screaming after finding Bill Palmer lying under her bed with his boots off.

She told Southampton magistrates she had been visiting her sister before returning to her home in Challis Court in Orchard Lane, where she was puzzled to see a window open.

"Going upstairs, I looked under my bed and found him there. I ran downstairs and got some neighbours out. He then came out of my house and walked into his own. As he passed, I struck at him with a flat iron I had in my hand but hit someone else."

When asked if she was certain it was Palmer, she replied: "I had just had my room whitewashed and his back was covered in white. He had no boots on at that time and did not seem intoxicated."

Ellen Annells, who had responded to Ford's screaming, confirmed she had seen Palmer in the house but when she demanded to know what he was doing there, he made no reply and walked off to his own house where she shut the door.

"As he was passing, Mrs Ford said 'You wicked man, to go into my house and frighten me like that,' she struck at him with the flat iron but hit someone else on the forehead. Later he came out of his house and called Mrs Ford a liar that he had been inside her home."

Palmer protested he had been drunk and did not know what he was doing but the magistrates, hearing the case on April 31, 1881, disbelieved him, chairman W Furber telling him: "We believe you were there for a serious purpose, having taken your boots off, and might have frightened Mrs Ford, who is in a delicate state, to death. Therefore, you will be imprisoned for six weeks with hard labour."