Katy Thorne


Year of Call

Katy Thorne

Katy’s specialisms include sexual allegations and abuse, child abuse and financial crime.  She is also instructed in the most serious criminal cases including murder, manslaughter, high level drug trafficking.


Her clients range from barristers and doctors to lifers and alleged organised crime group members.


Katy has 20 years’ experience defending, often as leading junior.  She is “always thorough and well-prepared” (Legal 500) and her client care is second to none.  Her clients, whether professionals accused of sexual offending or young teenagers accused of gang violence, receive a combination of tactical nous, clever legal arguments, robust advocacy and jury craft to obtain the best possible outcome.


One long-standing client said “It isn't often that you come across a barrister who is as excellent in connecting and communicating with the defendant as she is with advocacy, written advices and prep work, but such a barrister is Katy Thorne”


She has particular expertise in challenging experts, from medical to cell site and is often sought by professionals who face proceedings brought by their regulatory body, particularly where those arise as a result of criminal allegations. In 2015, she published Mason’s Forensic Medicine for Lawyers with Professor Helen Whitwell and others. 


Katy has a great success record in second opinion appellate work, including CCRC and ECtHR.  Her clients praise her  brilliant judgment,  her fantastic client care skills and being easy to work with.


Why does she get out of bed in the morning? To fight for the little guy against the establishment.


Sexual Crime and Offences Against Children

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

Her cross-examination skills are so well honed, she is adept at challenging witnesses from medical experts to young witnesses (including those with learning disabilities and with intermediaries).

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 successes include cases thrown out due to arguments of abuse of process and/or doli incapax in historic cases.  More than one such argument has resulted in the Prosecution choosing not to prosecute, even where clients had previous convictions.

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); 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 (e.g., R v E drug trafficking related murder; and 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 money laundering and fraud as well as large scale drugs conspiracies.  Recent financial cases have included Premier League private prosecution of multinational football streaming conspiracy Trading Standards prosecution and Hawala banking money laundering.

Criminal Appeals

Katy’s extensive experience in the Court of Appeal and with the Criminal Cases Review Commission for conviction and sentence appeals with an enviable success rate, means that she is frequently instructed by the most respected appeal firms in a range of cases: murder and rape convictions to dangerousness sentences (in which she is a recognised expert and wrote the Insight pages on Westlaw) and is also frequently instructed to look again at baby abuse murder convictions.

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

Katy has been involved in a number of guideline cases (e.g., 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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