John Elvidge KC

John Elvidge KC has led in many important high profile criminal cases throughout the North Eastern Circuit involving homicide (including Corporate and Gross Negligence Manslaughter), organised crime, fraud and exploitation.  

He receives instructions in large complex cases under VHCC contracts from specialist criminal solicitors (defence and prosecution), CPS Complex Units and their Special Crime Division. He also undertakes regulatory work, Health & Safety prosecutions, professional disciplinary hearings and licensing work. 


John Elvidge KC attracts plaudits for his impressive experience of dealing with a broad variety of serious criminal matters. He has expertise in cases involving homicide, serious and organised crime, commercial drugs supply and serious sexual offences. He has been instructed to prosecute and defend cases brought by the CPS Complex Crime Unit.

Chambers and Partners 2024


Notable Cases

R v Doughty and others; R v Bucknor and others [2023] (Manchester)

Prosecuting back to back trials concerning the murder of one man and the attempted shooting of another at a street party held after the 2022 Caribbean Carnival in Moss Side. The confrontation involved guns, knives, and an axe. Two men from one group were convicted of murder; two from the other group were convicted of attempted murder, and together with a third man, of possessing firearms with intent to endanger life. Leading Daniel Cordey of Dere Street Barristers, instructed by CPS Complex Crime Unit, Manchester.  Media coverage can be found here.

R v Balbas, Spahiu, and others [2022/3] (Liverpool)

Prosecuting in a three-month trial which led to the conviction of eight men for the murder of a Wigan man who they thought was a rapist; the victim was kidnapped in broad daylight. Leading Vanessa Thomson of 9SJS, instructed by CPS Complex Case Unit, Manchester. Media coverage can be found here.

R v Dunn [2022] (Newcastle)

Defending a 73 year old who killed her coercive husband and pleaded guilty to manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility. Leading Lorraine Mustard of Dere Street Barristers and instructed by Ian O’Rourke. Media coverage can be found here

R v R [2022] (Newcastle)

Defending a youth charged with murder after a group attack on an older man in Cramlington. After a seven week trial R was acquitted of murder and convicted of manslaughter. Leading Penny Hall of Dere Street Barristers and instructed by Lawson & Thompson.

R v Whinham and Hamblin [2022] (Newcastle)

Prosecuting a couple who were convicted of a gruesome attempt to murder a houseguest by stabbing, strangling and drowning. Instructed by CPS Northumbria and leading their Jolyon Perks. Media coverage can be found here.

R v B [2022] (Teesside)

Defending a 15 year old boy accused of murder. After a jury was unable to reach a verdict the prosecution accepted a guilty plea to the lesser offence of manslaughter. Leading Anthony Davis of Dere Street Barristers and instructed by Swinburne Snowball & Jackson.

R v Bathie, McDermott and Bathie [2022] (Leeds)

Prosecuting a farmer, his son and cousin who launched a revenge attack at a caravan site at Tingley where two men were shot by McDermott who was convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to 34 years’ imprisonment; the farmer and son were convicted of causing grievous bodily harm with intent and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life. Leading David Gordon of PSQB and instructed by CPS Leeds. Media coverage can be found here.

R v Metwally [2021] (Sheffield)

Prosecuting a Lincolnshire based anaesthetist who regularly poisoned his partner by injecting her with lethal clinical drugs to sedate her during perverted exorcism rituals. He was charged with and convicted of offences related to the repeated administrations which placed her life in danger, the supply of controlled drugs and medicines, and also prescription fraud. After an eight week trial Dr Metwally was sentenced to a total of 14½ years’ imprisonment. Leading Geraldine Kelly of New Park Court Chambers and instructed by CPS CCU, Leeds. Media coverage can be found here

R v Saffari [2021] (Teesside)

Defending S accused of the murder of a significant criminal figure who was also a member of the Kurdish Peshmerga. The prosecution alleged this was a planned execution orchestrated by a rival Albanian gang, with the victim lured to a vacant terraced house in Hartlepool where he was shot in the head at point blank range before the accused left in a vehicle which was subsequently burnt out close to the A19. After a trial lasting three months S was acquitted of murder but convicted of manslaughter (lack of intent). Leading Rod Hunt of Dere Street Barristers and instructed by AHM, Middlesbrough. Media coverage can be found here.

R v C [2020] (Newcastle)

Defending Ms C who psychiatrists determined mentally unfit to plead to the charge of murder. A jury subsequently found that she had killed her mother, who was decapitated. Leading Penny Hall of Dere Street Barristers and instructed by Alderson Law, Blyth.

R v J [2020] (Teesside)

Defending a businessman charged with murder who was alleged to have participated in a joint enterprise to exact retribution on a man suspected of burglary. After a trial lasting seven weeks Mr J was acquitted of all charges; other defendants were convicted of murder and/or manslaughter. The case involved expert interpretation of iOS location and health app data. Leading Stephen Constantine of Dere Street Barristers and instructed by TBI, Hartlepool. Media coverage can be found here

R v Atay [2019] (Newcastle)

Prosecuting Mrs Atay who killed her husband in their family home. She claimed to have acted in self-defence and relied on psychiatric and psychological evidence to support alternative defences of loss of control and diminished responsibility. Mrs Atay was convicted of manslaughter only by reason of lack of specific intent. The sentencing judge rejected her account that she was a victim of coercive control. Leading Laurie Scott of Dere Street Barristers and instructed by CPS Northumbria.  Media coverage can be found here. The Court of Appeal rejected the defendant’s appeal against her sentence of 14 years’ imprisonment – see [2020] EWCA Crim 274.

R v J [2019] (Newcastle)

Defending Mr J who admitted killing his boss by strangulation but said he did so in lawful self-defence. He pleaded guilty to theft of items from the deceased’s home and was acquitted by the jury of murder, manslaughter and assault with intent to rob. Leading David Comb of Trinity Chambers and instructed by Alderson Law, Blyth.

R v Black and others [2018] (Liverpool)

Defending R, a financial consultant in a trial prosecuted by the Serious Fraud Office that lasted 5 months. The case concerned millions of pounds worth of sales of solar panels throughout the UK using incentive schemes based on prospective offshore investment and insurance that did not materialise. Leading Mark Styles of Dere Street Barristers and instructed by Wragg Mark-Bell, Carlisle. Media coverage can be found here.

R v Rafael and others [2018] (Teesside)

Prosecuting members of a family who were tried over 4 months and convicted of running a modern slavery business. The defendants tricked vulnerable people from Slovakia into the UK where they were exploited for financial gain. Leading Matthew Donkin and Richard Holland, both of New Park Court Chambers, and instructed by CPS CCU Northumbria. Media Coverage can be found  here.

R v F & D [2016] (Teesside/Leeds)

Defending D who was convicted with another girl of the notorious murder of Angela Wrightson when D was 13 years’ old. The case also raised important collateral issues: the use of intermediaries, restrictions on reporting of proceedings on social media [2016] 2 Cr App R 13 and the anonymity of the young defendants (extended permanently in 2021). The sentencing remarks can be found here – Leading Jim Withyman of Dere Street Barristers and instructed by TBI, Hartlepool.

R v Azram and others [2015-17] (Newcastle)

Prosecuting 24 defendants in a series of trials arising from Operation Shelter, the principal part of Operation Sanctuary: the first widescale police investigation into the sexual exploitation of girls and young women in Tyne & Wear. Leading Dan Cordey of Dere Street Barristers, Amanda Rippon and Nick Lane of New Park Court Chambers; instructed by CPS CCU Northumbria. Media coverage can be found here and here.

R v Ruddy [2015] (Newcastle)

Prosecuting Martin Ruddy who was convicted of murdering his mother and father in their home. At trial Ruddy unsuccessfully claimed that he and they had been attacked by unknown intruders. He was sentenced to imprisonment for life and ordered to serve a minimum term of 35 years. Leading Jolyon Perks of CPS Newcastle.

R v Patterson [2014] (Newcastle)

Prosecuting Glen Patterson who killed his father and grandmother. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter by diminished responsibility. Instructed by CPS Newcastle.

R v Miller [2013]  (Newcastle)

Defending John Miller who killed his partner and daughter. His guilty pleas to manslaughter by diminished responsibility were accepted by the prosecution. Leading and instructed by Richard Reed of Graham Stowe Bateson, Leeds. Media coverage can be found here.

R v Haigh [2012] (Truro)

Defending Yorkshireman Thomas Haigh who was convicted of shooting two alleged drug dealers from Liverpool and Plymouth at a Cornish farm before they were buried inside their car by co-accused Ross Stone using a JCB excavator. Leading and instructed by Carl Kingsley of Kingsley Brookes, Huddersfield.

R v Briggs [2011] (Newcastle)

Defending Mrs Briggs who was convicted of murdering an 88-year-old resident at a sheltered care home in Farringdon where Ms Briggs was employed. Leading Lee Fish of New Park Court Chambers and instructed by McKenzie Bell, Washington.

R v Sayers and others [2010] (Woolwich)

Defending R who was accused of conspiring to tamper with a jury during a Newcastle murder trial heard at Leeds in 2002. The prosecution relied on informant evidence called pursuant to a section 73 agreement. On account of failings in the disclosure process the proceedings were stayed for abuse of process against all defendants shortly before the close of the prosecution case. Leading Robert Adams of Trinity Chambers and instructed by Haswell & Cornberg, Newcastle.

Recommendations and client feedback

Chambers and Partners UK Bar 2024

‘He is very impressive with clients and a fantastic trial advocate.’

The Legal 500 2024

‘An effective cross-examiner who inspires confidence in clients.’

Chambers and Partners UK Bar 2023

“John is a very safe pair of hands.””He is fantastic.”

The Legal 500 2023

‘An extremely thorough silk, who is fantastic with clients.’

The Legal 500 2022

“A very dedicated leader. He has superb attention to detail and never loses sight of the clients’ needs”.

Chambers and Partners UK Bar 2021

“He has good insight and really understands human behaviour.”

The Legal 500 2020/2021

“An excellent leader with a cool head.”

Chambers and Partners UK Bar 2020

“A very well-respected barrister.”

Chambers and Partners UK Bar 2019

“He is very insightful and he has a keen eye for detail. He gets straight to the point and is a very tenacious advocate.”

“He is very experienced and very calm.”

The Legal 500 2019

“A stalwart and very self-possessed silk.”

Chambers and Partners  UK Bar 2018

“He has excellent advocacy and client care skills. The matter was complex and despite having the case sent to him late, he mastered the vast amount of evidence with ease and speed.”

The Legal 500 2017

“Very experienced in high-profile homicide cases”

The Legal 500 2016

“Experienced in a range of heavyweight cases.”

The Legal 500 2015

“He is, for many, the first-choice silk on the North Eastern Circuit”



  • Gray’s Inn
  • North Eastern Circuit
  • Criminal Bar Association
  • Bar Council (2007/10, 2013/16)
  • General Management Committee of the Bar Council (2014/16)


  • King Edward VII School, Sheffield
  • University of Newcastle upon Tyne
  • Inns of Court School of Law
  • Pupil of HH Michael Taylor at the chambers of Robin Stewart QC (2 Harcourt Buildings, Temple & annex at 17, Blake Street, York)