Judge plans to throw the book at retirement

His Honour Judge Murphy  EMN-140726-224018009

His Honour Judge Murphy EMN-140726-224018009

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A Peterborough judge is swapping his wig and gown for a pen after retiring from the bench.

Judge Peter Murphy has been the Honorary Recorder of Peterborough since 2014, and has been sitting at Peterborough Crown Court for about three years.

His Honour Judge Murphy who was installed as Honorary Recorder of Peterborough at the Town Hall, pictured in chambers at Peterborough Crown Court. EMN-140726-224053009

His Honour Judge Murphy who was installed as Honorary Recorder of Peterborough at the Town Hall, pictured in chambers at Peterborough Crown Court. EMN-140726-224053009

But now he has stepped down from the bench, and will focus on writing legal themed novels, partly based on his lengthy experience in court - having seen hundreds of defendants appear in front of him in the Peterborough Crown Court dock over the years .

Judge Murphy said: “Including my time as a student I have been in the legal profession about 52 years.

“The Peterborough job came very late in the day for me, but I have always had a great affection for the area.

“The first court I was assigned to as a judge was at Huntingdon in 2007.

His Honour Judge Murphy who was installed as Honorary Recorder of Peterborough at the Town Hall EMN-140726-223937009

His Honour Judge Murphy who was installed as Honorary Recorder of Peterborough at the Town Hall EMN-140726-223937009

“I got to know the court staff well during the time, and they really are marvellous people.

“I was then moved to London, and spent years at Woolwich and Blackfriars courts.”

“When the Olympics came to London everyone thought London would be closed down because it was so busy. I said I would be happy to move to Peterborough during the games.

“The Olympics came and went, and no-one asked me to move back straight away.

“When the residency at the court came up shortly afterwards, I applied and moved here.”

Judge Murphy grew up in Lancashire, but moved south when he went to university.

He said one of the highlights of working as a judge, and a barrister before that, was the people.

He said: “It has always been a small profession. The bar has always been self policing, and you have to get on with your colleagues. You fight with them as hard as you can in court, but that is the job.

“Being a court judge is one of the most interesting jobs you can have.

“You can go in to work expecting certain things to happen, and something completely different does happen.”

Judge Murphy was the first Honorary Recorder of Peterborough for decades. The role provided a link between Peterborough City Council and the judiciary, and meant he attended a number of civic events.

He said: “I am 70 next month, and the time is right to step down.

“The recorder at Cambridge, Judge Hawksworth, was also stepping down, so it seemed fitting.

“I have enjoyed my time in Peterborough.

“One of the most memorable incidents was just after I moved here.

“There was a charity event, where a group of council members were put in the dock ‘charged’ with various offences, such a ‘bad taste.’

“The other highlights have been knowing the extraordinary staff here.

“At a time when there are ever more efficiencies in the public sector, they give everything.”

Judge Murphy is now planning on enjoying his retirement, and continuing to write novels.

He said: “I have had five novels published, and a sixth one is coming out later this year.

“I have written a series about the career of a young barrister in London in the 1960s. He gets involved in a number of important trials. It is something I knew about, which makes it easier to write.

“I am also planning on seeing a bit more of my three grandchildren, and taking things easy and doing a bit of travelling with my wife Chris.

“I am a big sports fan, and plan on watching a bit, especially the Welsh rugby team.

“It is going to be nice not to have to work to deadlines all the time.”