Katy Thorne


Year of Call

Katy Thorne

Katy has 20 years’ experience defending, often as leading junior.  She is frequently instructed in the most serious criminal cases including murder, manslaughter, high level drug trafficking, sexual offending, offences against children and financial crime.   


She has particular expertise in challenging experts, from medical to cell site; and this year published Mason’s Forensic Medicine for Lawyers, with Professor Helen Whitwell and others.  The reason she gets out of bed in the morning? to fight for the little guy against the establishment.  


Katy has a great track record in second opinion appellate work, including CCRC and ECtHR and has a reputation as thorough and hardworking, easy to work with and with fantastic client care skills.


She is frequently sought by professionals who face proceedings brought by their regulatory body, particularly where those arise as a result of criminal allegations.


Current instructions include gross negligence manslaughter (client is a nurse); large child abuse sex ring in traveller community; major Football fraud.

Sexual Crime and Offences Against Children

Katy is extremely experienced in sexual crime (historic, inter-family, cold-case, male on male, transsexual; sex rings; relationship); and has a national reputation for cases involving violence against young children and babies.

Her highly skilled cross-examination skills mean that she is adept at challenging witnesses from experts to young witnesses (including those with learning disabilities and with intermediarie).

Katy’s robust yet sensitive approach engenders confidence in a wide range of lay clients: from prison officers to lifers, professionals to school children and her  finely tuned case management and tactical skills ensure the best possible outcome.

Notable cases include R v B, a shaken baby allegation, the case became a leading authority on dealing with experts, and led Katy to become one of the most sought-after advocates in this field.  She has been leading, sole and led junior in a variety of “shaken baby” allegations.

Past experience includes successful arguments of abuse of process in historic cases and involve issues of doli incapax. 

Serious Violence

Katy has a high level of expertise in cases involving medical, DNA and toxicological evidence and her breadth of cases ranges from gang related murders to attempted mercy killings, deaths in custody and fatal arson attacks.

Katy has been instructed in many cases involving clients with challenging presentations where her exceptional client care skills and talent for expert-handling are a prerequisite to success, in particular she succeeded in securing an acquittal for a man accused of his third murder, committed in prison of a fellow lifer for cannibalistic motives (R v M); and for a mentally ill woman accused of attempting to murder her terminally ill mother for altruistic reasons (R v T), for a lifer accused of raping another male prisoner (R v R), and for a damaged 16 year old who stabbed his 17 year old friend in the back (R v K). 

Katy is frequently instructed in cases involving those who are accused of homicide in the course of their work, from prison officers (R v S and others) and (R v H and others ) to nurses (R v M and others).  These cases in particular benefit from Katy’s high degree of skill in challenging complex expert evidence.

She has a very strong reputation, and a high acquittal rate, in serious organised crime related violence (eg R v E drug trafficking related sword murder, R v G armed robbery murder).

Financial Crime and Drugs

Katy’s early training in business, insurance and banking means that she is able to offer an understanding of both the business world and the criminal courts.  Her ability to assimilate large amounts of technical information and challenge expert reports in fields as diverse as cell site to forensic accounting mean that she is an excellent choice in massive money laundering and fraud as well as large scale drugs conspriracies.

Criminal Appeals

Katy’s extensive experience in the Court of Appeal for conviction and sentence appeals, with enviable success rate means that she is frequently instructed by the most respected appeals firms in a range of cases: murder and rape convictions to dangerousness sentences (in which she is a recognised eg R v R and others, judgment pending).

Recently she represented Hutchinson (2015) in the European Court of Human Rights in relation to Whole Life Terms and Article 3.

Successful in guideline cases (eg R v Henderson and others [2010] 2 Cr.App.R. 24, CA, (expert evidence and shaken baby), R v Brustenga-Vilaseca [2011] EWCA Crim 1099, [2012] 1 Cr App R (S) 3 and R v Beeton [2008] EWCA Crim 1421; [2009] 1 Cr. App. R. (S.) 46 (false allegations of rape)).

Crime related civil work

Katy’s high level of expertise in medical and expert evidence makes her the ideal choice for inquests, inquiries and disciplinary tribunal cases which involve challenging such evidence.  She has experience in deaths in custody, both in the criminal and coronial courts, and is sought by professionals facing disciplinary tribunals which have or may result in related criminal proceedings.  


Criminal Bar Association

Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers

Criminal Appeal Lawyers Association

Society of Labour Lawyers

Legal Action Group







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