Constable John McFaddern was determined to put an end to the Howell gang, whose rustling activities were terrorising East Anglias small tenant farmers in the 1840s. Chickens, grains, apples and even the odd pig went missing, and it often brought the families of their victims close to starvation.
During the night of July 28th, 1844, the officer, having discovered the next farm the Howells were targeting, laid in wait for them. But the gang found him first. They beat him up and peppered him with shot, leaving him fatally wounded.
Before he died later that night McFaddern made a sworn statement accusing William Howell of the actual shooting.
Two members of the gang were sent for transportation, while William Howell, 28, was sent to the scaffold. When he was hanged outside Ipswich Prison on Saturday, January 25th, 1845, East Anglias farming community breathed a sigh of relief.