Anthony Arlies, barrister with theatrical streak who defended Jeremy Bamber’s murder case – dies

Anthony Arlies, barrister with theatrical streak who defended Jeremy Bamber’s murder case – dies


Anthony Arliese, who has died aged 85, was one of the most energetic, persuasive and sought-after barristers in the criminal bar and appeared in a string of high profile cases, notably the Jeremy Bamber murder trial at Chelmsford Crown Court in 1986. .

A former public schoolboy, Bamber was accused of murdering his adoptive parents, his sister and his six-year-old twin nephews, all of whom were shot dead at the family’s farmhouse in Essex in August 1985.

Shortly thereafter, as Early told the jury in his opening speech for the prosecution, Bamber “began to spend more freely than now”. He ate in expensive restaurants, went to Eastbourne at weekends and to Amsterdam with his girlfriend, stayed in good hotels and “did everything in a luxe style”.

Police initially believed Bamber’s claim that his sister Sheila had become reckless with the gun. Adopted like her brother, Sheila earned the nickname “Bambi” during modeling assignments, but after the divorce she became increasingly unstable and was diagnosed with schizophrenia.

However, as Arlies explained, a month after the murder, Bamber’s girlfriend, Julie Mugford, came forward to say that Bamber had told her that he wanted to kill her parents “in a perfect murder, a murder that cannot be discovered”.

According to Miss Mugford, she also said she heard her mother Sheila was going to change her will in favor of the twins – she and her husband’s estate was worth £436,000.

Arlies said in his closing speech that “incriminating evidence” found inside a gun silencer (which was later found in a closet) matching Sheila’s blood type could only have been found there from one bullet. Fired against his flesh with a silencer, something he couldn’t do himself.

Early 2000 book

Early 2000 book

Furthermore, the magazine had to be changed for the number of shots fired, and whereas an expert who examined the magazine found it too stiff and damaged her fingernails, Sheila’s fingernails were long and manicured and intact.

Bamber was convicted by a majority verdict and sentenced to life in prison, with a recommendation that he serve at least 25 years. In 1988 the then Home Secretary Douglas Hurd introduced the levy for life. In 2021 Bamber was jailed for life as the only prisoner in Britain who continued to protest his innocence.

Anthony John Earlies was born on 18 February 1937 in Sidcup, Kent. He attended Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar School before going to Queen’s College, Cambridge, where he gained a double first in law, also acted extensively and appeared alongside Trevor Nunn in his first student production. Corin Redgrave and Ian McKellen.

He was called to the bar by Middle Temple in 1962 and succeeded in obtaining a tenancy at 5 King’s Bench Walk, a leading criminal set of chambers founded by Fred Lawton in 1949 and which later included the future Attorney General and Michael Havers. Lord Chancellor.

Like other barristers with a thespian streak, Earlys performed in court as if he were on stage. Charismatic, witty and as bold as he was as a playwright, he was able to mesmerize a jury. Chambers’ Guide to the UK Legal Profession describes him as “a speaker who immediately commands the attention of judge and jury”.

After taking silk in 1981, he appeared in several cases that went to the House of Lords, including R v Lawrence (1982), which revised the definition of recklessness in the crime of murder.

Magna Carta Uncovered (2014) explores the charter's roots in medieval political thought

Magna Carta Uncovered (2014) explores the charter’s roots in medieval political thought

His defense clients included Terry Ramsden, the Terry securities dealer who went bankrupt in the 1987 collapse of Glenn International; and former debutante Baroness Susan de Stempel, who was acquitted in 1989 of murdering her ex-husband, the reclusive architect Simon Dale – described memorably by Arlies as “the toughest man in the three counties” – when he refused to let them have their large house in Shropshire.

The murder remains unsolved. The baroness was later convicted of conspiring with her second husband, Baron de Stempel, to defraud her aunt of all her fortune and possessions before allowing her to die in poverty.

In 1999, Arlies defended GP Dr David Moore, who was found not guilty of euthanasia of a patient despite admitting he helped 300 people die.

In the 1990s, Earlies took over from David Cox QC as head of Red Lion Chambers and was said to be among the highest-paid criminals in silk. He was among 10 legal aid barristers said to have received more than £400,000 in 1996-97 by the Lord Chancellor’s department – although the bar disputed the figures, saying they included payments for years of work.

Anthony Early served as Treasurer of Middle Temple in 2003, having previously been Master of Entertainment. He was the original co-author of Arlidge and Eady on Contempt of Court (5th ed., 2017) and lead co-author of Arlidge and Parry on Fraud (5th ed., 2017), both pre-eminent practitioner texts. .

Early in 2012

Early in 2012

His other publications include Shakespeare and the Prince of Love (2000), which demonstrates how various “in-jokes” in Twelfth Night indicate that it was probably written for an audience of lawyers, commissioned for performance at the Middle Temple in 1602.

With Igor Judge, the former Lord Chief Justice, Early also wrote Magna Carta Uncovered (2014), highlighting the charter’s roots in medieval political thought; The authors were old friends, rejected from the same chamber early in their careers.

Arlies married first, in 1964, Enid “Topsy” Townsend, a French and Russian teacher, with whom he had two daughters and two sons, who survive him. Their Hampstead neighbors included Judi Dench, Jonathan Pryce and Peter Cook, the last of whom was remembered by their son Matthew (crime writer MJ Arlies) “for the topiary bush carved in the shape of a V-sign outside his house”. They separated and eventually divorced in the 1990s.

In 2000 Early met barrister Constance Briscoe – later Britain’s first black woman to sit as a judge – who saw him “looking down a bit” in a cafe at the Old Bailey where they attended and delivered separate trials. Blue “power beads” to him to improve his mood.

Their subsequent relationship lasted more than a decade, during which he helped edit her bestselling memoir Ugly (2006), based on the neglect and cruelty she endured during her upbringing. But in 2012 she told a newspaper that Early, then 76, had left her for Heather Lockwood, an Oxford graduate and barrister who was 50 years her junior.

It’s not so much a moment of midlife madness as a “late, late, late crisis,” says Constance Briscoe. “He’s smart,” he said, “he’s clever, he’s intelligent, he’s very generous, he’s sincere. He still has these good qualities, despite being restless.”

(She was later jailed for perverting the course of justice in the Quick Points case involving her friend Vicky Price and her ex-husband Chris Huhne.)

When approached by the press, Arlies earnestly confirmed the new relationship: “We are living together. We share the love of sports. I am taking him to the Olympics to watch football and athletics.” He added: “I met her mum, and she says if Heather is happy, so is she.” Later they got married.

Her son MJ Arlies later commented: “I like to think that our family is not too strict about conventions. At the end of the day, we all love her and want her to be happy. I admire Baba, he is fearless, he is bulletproof. He is not worried about what others think.”

Anthony Early, born 18 February 1937, died 27 January 2023

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