TRIBUTES have been paid to a highly regarded barrister who died suddenly, while defending in a murder trial at Winchester Crown Court.

Matthew Jewell QC died on Saturday night, aged 54, and now tributes are flooding in for the “wonderful friend and colleague”.

His death was announced by Drystone chambers at the weekend, who said: “We regret to announce that Matthew Jewell QC, our colleague and friend, died suddenly last night. He was just 54 years old. The members and staff of Drystone are deeply shocked and saddened by his death. At this time, our thoughts are with his family.”

Mr Jewell was called to the Bar in 1989 and was appointed Queens Counsel in 2018.

In tribute, colleague Karim Khalil QC said: “Matthew was a pupil in One Paper Buildings and remained with us for his entire career, helping me to steer the merger with Dyers to become Drystone chambers, six years ago.

“He was on our management and finance committees and was a calm ‘voice of reason’ when others occasionally 'lost their heads' over the many difficult issues that confront life at the Bar. He was primarily a Western Circuiteer but he was in demand elsewhere, often working on the South Eastern and Midland Circuits leading members of chambers in serious cases.

“He is a huge loss to us as a friend and colleague and to the Bar as a "proper barrister” - imbued with good judgment, quiet assurance and a firm grasp of the importance of litigating with style.”

He added that Mr Jewell is “hugely missed already”.

At the time of his death, Mr Jewell was defence counsel for accused Charlie Statham in the trial at Winchester Crown Court following the murder of Gurinderjit Rai, in Corhampton, in July 2019.

The jury returned their verdicts on Tuesday and following the convictions, Mrs Justice Cutts said: “Mr Jewell died suddenly and unexpectedly, it has been a shock to us all. I am sure that you will join with us in the condolences to his family.”