HE took out his revolver and fired, the intended victim adamant he was pointing the pistol at his stomach.

"A funny place to shoot a man you want to murder?" the defence barrister suggested.

"One of the best places I should have thought," he countered.

"Have you ever heard of the heart?" prompted the lawyer.

"It is very difficult to hit what you want to?" came the riposte.

"Have you heard of the head?" he finally proposed. "It is very difficult to hold a revolver straight," the target replied.

The exchange between Blake Odgers and John St Foyne Fair was conducted at Hampshire Summer Assizes in 1934 when Basil Young was accused of attempting to murder the company director.

Young, 54, a slightly built man with iron grey hair and moustache, also denied a second charge of firing the weapon with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Some six weeks earlier on May 30, Young had tricked himself into Fair's home at Bishops Sutton House in Bishop Sutton under the alias of Savill to demand what he perceived as unpaid wages as an employee of Associated Estancias in the Argentine for which his adversary acted as a company director.

However, it was met with a firm rebuttal: "You know we do not admit we owe you anything at all."

Daily Echo:

Young became increasingly angry and his shouts of "You liar, you damned liar" alerted Fair's wife who came into the drawing room.

Far from being placated by her pleas to calm down, Young began verbally abusing her, reaching such a crescendo that her husband begged him: "Look, if you think the company owes you money then bring an action against them."

Instead of pacifying him, Young muttered "Very well" and standing about a yard away put his hand into his inside coat pocket.

Fair feared the worst and the pair grappled before Young wrenching himself free fired a shot which shattered a picture frame on a table two feet away and buried itself in a wall.

But before he could fire again, Mrs Fair struggled with Young who suddenly backed away: "All right. I shall not shoot any more" and throwing the gun loaded with two other cartridges to one side sat down on a chair waiting to be arrested.

He did not prevaricate when questioned.

"Yes, I came here for the purpose of firing the revolver to bring the matter to a head. If it does not clear up now and I get an opportunity, I shall come back and do it again with perhaps worse results."

When charged, he did not change his story.

"I voluntarily say that what I did was because I was refused what I demanded," calmly explaining it had been difficult extracting the revolver from his pocket and the trigger had been stiff. After Mrs Fair had grabbed his hands, she hung on to him, he had only fired the pistol once and throwing it aside, told her: "You had better get the police."

Daily Echo:

When the prosecution at his trial were about to question Young about the contested settlement, the judge intervened.

"I do not see what this has to do with the case," said Mr Justice Branson. "A man is not entitled to shoot at another because no settlement has not been arrived at."

The prosecution's case closed, Blake Odgers said he would not call his client to give evidence but would read a lengthy statement he had prepared.

It stated: "During my 30 years in the Argentine, I always had a revolver. One has to do so for self protection. I should not feel properly dressed without it. That was the only reason why I was wearing it when I went to see Mr Fair – another man from the Argentine. I had no intention to shoot Mr Fair or shooting at him.

"When I called at his house, I used the name of Savill-Young. I talked rather quickly and owing to my lack of teeth rather indistinctly. My father's name was Savill-Young and he used it as a double-barrelled name."

He maintained Mr Fair and the company had treated him badly and was owed considerable money.

"I went to see him about it," the statement continued. "He told me to go to the law which I had been recommended not do do. I then tried to produce the revolver to frighten him. He seized me with both hands and during the struggle the revolver went off. I am certain when the revolver went off, Mr Fair still held my wrists and the revolver was not pointing at Mr Fair.

"It was actually pointing away from him and I never intended to fire it at him. I am a good shot and if I had intended to hit him, I could hardly have missed at so short a range. I never had the intention of murdering Mr Fair or doing him any bodily harm. After the revolver had gone off, I threw it away as soon as my hands were free.

"If I had wanted to kill or injure Mr Fair, I could have done it then. As there were two live cartridges in it, I threw it away to reassure them. I really wanted to cause a scene for them to force them to call the police as I thought the way Mr Fair and the company had treated me would be shown up."

As Mr Fair had not entered the witness box to testify, the prosecution therefore were unable to cross-examine him on his motive.

Jurors spent almost an hour deliberating before finding Young not guilty of attempted murder but guilty of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm. However, from their observations, they added a rider that he was not responsible for his actions at the time and should be medically examined.

The judge agreed and Dr Smythe, medical officer at Winchester Prison, stepped forward to give his assessment of Young's mental state: "I formed the impression he was insane when he went to Bishops Sutton to see Mr Fair."

Dr Beaton, superintendent at Portsmouth City Mental Hospital, concurred, and the judge ordered Young to be detained until His Majesty's Pleasure was known.