Yorkshire legal figure retires from judiciary

FORMER Yorkshire solicitor Barrington Black, whose clients included Donald Neilson, the Black Panther, retired yesterday as a circuit judge. Olwen Dudgeon Legal Correspondent

Familiar in legal circles in the county until he became a Metropolitan stipendiary magistrate in London in 1984, Judge Black, 72, was admitted a solicitor in June 1956.

Educated at Roundhay School, Leeds, he was president of Leeds University Union in 1952 and vice-president of the National Union of Students 1953-54.

A partner in the firm of Walker, Morris & Coles between 1958 to 1969, he was a senior partner in Barrington Black, Austin & Co from 1969 to 1984.

During this time he was involved in high-profile cases including representing Neilson, a Bradford joiner who murdered heiress Lesley Whittle.

He demonstrated a sense of humour when he asked magistrates considering a speeding case against him to be "gentle" as he had "a wife, four kids and a very slow Jensen to support". They imposed a 10 fine.

A former Harrogate town councillor, he was appointed a stipendiary magistrate in 1984, an assistant recorder in 1987 and a recorder in 1991.

He was chairman of the Inner London Juvenile Court 1985-1993 and of the Family Court from 1991-1993, when he was appointed a judge on the South Eastern Circuit. Married with two sons and two daughters, Judge Black has been authorised to sit in retirement as a deputy circuit judge for two years if he wishes.