THEY had it in for retired copper Othen. First he was viciously accosted as he left a pub, then he was accused of theft.

It seemed bygones were bygones as he played cards with local rogues, Samuel Chandler and John Budden, in Southampton's Argyle pub, but once the game was over, the mood changed and Chandler stormed out on the pretext of going home.

In reality, his long time adversary lay in wait, and within yards of him leaving the inn, Chandler bludgeoned him with a stick on the head and rendered him insensible.

Budden was then heard to say he was going to stone Othen in revenge. Indeed, one was hurled but magistrates, hearing the case of violent assault against the pair in 1844, were unsure who had thrown it. Both defendants complained they had been repeatedly hassled by Othen who had brought a false case against them.

Convicted, Chandler was ordered to pay a fine of 50s (£2.50) and costs or face six weeks imprisonment in default, while Budden, given the benefit of the doubt, was cautioned over his future behaviour.

That matter concluded, Othen then laid a complaint of sustained provocation against a Mrs Kemish who had accused him of stealing a considerable amount of money from her home, but her allegation was dismissed when it was considered the evidence was insufficient to warrant his committal to the town's quarter sessions.

That - according to Othen - had infuriated Kemish who not only abused him when they regularly encountered each other in the street but she had also encouraged boys to do likewise.

ThamesThames (Image: Echo)

Magistrates duly issued a warrant for her arrest and the following day, she was cautioned with a warning that a repetition of her conduct would put her in serious trouble. She strenuously denied acting in a derisory fashion and still accused Othen of larceny. He in turn told her that if she repeated the accusation in public, he would sue her for defamation of character.

Kemish left court, cursing.

It was quite a day in court which then heard of the emnity between Captain Haste of the Royal Mail Steam Company's ship 'Thames' and a seaman called Rooke who was clapped in irons for a day for insubordination while sailing off the Cuban coast. Haste then relented and Rooke was released. His next act of defiance was to throw the irons overboard!

"That will cost you £1," rebuked Haste.

Rooke accepted the fine without protest until he discovered the irons cost only 10s (50p) in England and only 25 per cent more in Havana.

"I am therefore entitled to the difference," he demanded in his application to the court but the captain's lawyer Mr Hulton condemned him as "mutinous and disorderly" and he had infringed the terms of his employment.

Magistrates in particular noted he had not complained about the original fine and threw out his claim.