HAMPSHIRE’S most senior and highly-respected judge is to retire at the end of next week.

Judge Michael Brodrick, 67, has held the honorary title of Recorder of Winchester since 2005 and the resident judge at Winchester Crown Court since 1999.

He has sat at Winchester for some 21 years and is widely regarded as one of the best judges in the country.

Judge Brodrick, who lives near Alresford, will sit for the last time on November 14.

His reasons for retiring were unclear as he could have stayed on a full-time judge until he was 70 and then part-time until 72 years.

Court manager Linda Thompson paid tribute: “He is simply the best circuit judge. He is always willing to listen. He is approachable and understands the administration in a way that other judges never have.”

Guy Boney QC will take over as acting judge. A decision whether the post of senior circuit judge will be filled locally or by advertising nationally has yet to be taken.