A judge brought to book after a lifetime in court

Judge Paul Worsley QC with his first children's book, The Mango Monkey. Picture: Richard Ponter
Judge Paul Worsley QC with his first children's book, The Mango Monkey. Picture: Richard Ponter
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MANY GRANDPARENTS must have been struck with the thought, midway through a bedtime story, that writing such prose must be money for old rope, and banking the cheque bordering on criminal.

Paul Worsley had been a judge long enough to know that taking candy from a baby was no crime, and so set out to beat the children’s writers on his shelves at their own game.

“I found myself reading stories to my six grandchildren and thought, I could have a go at this,” said the recently retired QC.

The result is The Mango Monkey, an idea that came to him on a beach on the Caribbean island of Nevis. He wrote it back at home in North Yorkshire, between his remaining engagements at the Old Bailey.

Born in Surrey but rooted in the north, Mr Worsley had previously brought some of the nation’s most notorious criminals to book. His pupillage was under the admired Scarborough-born barrister, Gilbert Gray. “It was before he became a QC but he was already handling some of the most serious criminal cases and it was amazing to watch him in front of a jury,” said Mr Worsley.

As a senior barrister in his own right, he prosecuted and defended in many headline cases, including that of the Yorkshire Ripper telephone hoaxer known as Wearside Jack.

John Humble, from Sunderland, whose accent side-tracked the West Yorkshire Police investigation into the crimes of Peter Sutcliffe, was finally snared after advances in DNA matched the saliva on envelopes sent to detectives more than 25 years earlier.

He also prosecuted the quadruple murderer Mark Hobson, who killed his girlfriend, her twin sister and an elderly couple in York before being apprehended.

Appointed a judge in 2006, he began hearing serious criminal cases in London. In 2010, he jailed Lakhvir Singh for murdering her former lover with an Indian aconite plant known as the “Queen of poisons”, disguised in a helping of curry.

He also sentenced the fiancée of one of the leaders of the failed July 21 suicide attacks in London for helping him escape, disguised in a Burka.

With his official retirement from the bench earlier this year, he decided he needed a new project.

“I had always been interested in writing, so the timing was perfect when I had the inspiration for Mango Monkey,” he said.

He collaborated with the illustrator Josephine Chisholm, and published the book privately, with profits going to the charity, Prostate Cancer UK.

The character, aimed at five to seven year-olds, has gone down well with his own grandchildren, he says, and he hopes that a forthcoming stint as a judge in the Cayman Islands might provide the inspiration for a sequel.

The book is available at Wardle & Jones in Scarborough, and on Amazon.