Murder and manslaughter
High profile homicide barrister
Brian Altman QC is one of the UK’s top homicide barristers, providing advice and handling cases for prosecution and defence.
Brian is highly regarded as one of the premier homicide barristers in the UK, acknowledged by his peers and the media as a top performer. He has advised in, prosecuted and defended, some of the most high-profile murder and manslaughter cases of the day.
As a former First Senior Treasury Counsel to the Crown at the Old Bailey, Brian’s determined, intelligent and practical approach, coupled with his persuasive skills, ensured convictions for some of today’s most horrific murderers.
Brian successfully led for the prosecution in the 2011 case against the serial killer Levi Bellfield for the abduction and murder of Milly Dowler in 2002. Three years earlier Brian led for the prosecution against Bellfield who was convicted for the murders of Amélie Delagrange and Marsha McDonnell, and the attempted murder of Kate Sheedy.
In March 2020, Brian led for the prosecution in the first trial concerning the death of PC Andrew Harper who was dragged to his death by a car driven by three young men escaping from their theft of a quad bike. That trial had to be aborted due to Covid-19. Brian was unable to prosecute the retrial in June 2020 due to other professional commitments. The three were convicted of PC Harper’s manslaughter.
He has also achieved remarkable convictions in historic ‘cold-case’ murders, such as that of Russell Bishop, who in 2018 was convicted of the notorious ‘Babes in the Woods’ murders of two 9-year-old girls in Brighton in 1986, foollowing the 2017 quashing by the Court of Appeal of his 1987 acquittals; Colin Ash-Smith, who savagely stabbed to death 16 year old Claire Tiltman in a dark alley in Kent, in January 1993; and of millionaire businessman Robert Ekaireb who was convicted of the murder of his pregnant wife who went missing in October 2006.
Other notable prosecutions include the torture and murder of 15-year-old Kristy Bamu by his sister and her partner who believed he was practising witchcraft, known in the Congo as ‘kindoki’, the manslaughter of well-known immigration and human rights solicitor David (also Sonia) Burgess, who was killed after being pushed under a train in 2010 by Senthooran ‘Nina’ Kanagasingham, and, during the 2011 summer riots in Ealing, the manslaughter of 68-year-old Richard Bowes.
Brian’s other high profile homicide cases included the first Damilola Taylor prosecution, the conviction of John Mulcahy, the second of the two 1980’s “railway murderers”, and the joint Anglo-Dutch murder investigation which led to the conviction of “The Canal Murderer” John Sweeney.
The case of Armel Gnango led to a landmark decision in the Supreme Court. Gnango was convicted of killing a Polish care worker, who was unwittingly caught in the crossfire of a gunfight in South London, even though he had not fired the fatal bullet. The case went to the Supreme Court, which restored the offender’s murder conviction.
Recent examples of Brian’s defence trial work for homicide include successfully defending a 15 year old girl alleged to have aided a youth accused of killing a man. The jury acquitted her within an hour.
He acted for Christopher Hampton, who following the recovery of DNA evidence implicating him, pleaded guilty to the murder and sexual assault of 17-year-old Melanie Road in Bath in 1984. He also represented Calvin Collins who was one of three young men accused of involvement in a revenge knife murder following a gun attack on the home of a co-defendant. He was convicted following a trial at the Old Bailey in 2014 but his 24-year minimum term life sentence was later reduced to 22 years by the Court of Appeal.
Call Brian Altman QC on 020 7440 8888 or email: [email protected]
Brian Altman QC is a barrister regulated by the Bar Standards Board