The Fowler brothers – Wilfred, 23, and Lawrence, 24 – fancied themselves as Sheffield gang-leaders. But they weren’t as tough as they thought, as two ex-boxers taught them.

The events that were to land them in deep trouble began one night towards the end of April 1925. They were in a city centre pub where “Trimmer” Welsh, their gang’s “heavy,” fancied the new barmaid. He was about to hit her for rejecting his advances when William Plommer intervened, warning him off. The two then squared up to each other, and Plommer, a former boxer, beat Welsh senseless.

This created a score to be settled, and the next day the gang surrounded Plommer as he stood chatting to Jack Clay, another ex-boxer. Clay’s reaction was swift and decisive. He knocked out Wilfred Fowler, and the gang fled.

Unable to leave it at that, on APRIL 27th they went to Plommer’s home, called him out, and the scuffle that followed left him bleeding to death on the pavement. He had been attacked with chains, clubs and knives, and he died shortly afterwards.

Witnesses were reluctant to talk, fearing reprisals. On being promised police protection, however, they told what they had seen, and seven of the gang’s members were charged with Plommer’s murder.

The outcome at Yorkshire Assizes was acquittal for two, manslaughter convictions for three…and the death sentence for the Fowler brothers. Wilfred Fowler was hanged at Leeds on September 3rd, 1925. Lawrence was dispatched on the same scaffold the next day.