Sarah Elliott QC

Year of Silk


Year of Call

Sarah Elliott QC

“A superb jury advocate, who knows the law from back to front.” - Legal 500 2016


Sarah has a proven track record in achieving successful outcomes for clients in complex, difficult and unusual cases including homicides, multiple rape and other serious sexual offences, both recent and historic, large scale drug operations, financial crime and money laundering, and in criminal appeals. She is a recommended QC in Chambers & Partners and as a leading Silk in the Legal 500. In 2015 she was appointed a Recorder of the Crown Court.


Successful outcomes so far this year have included,


achieving a conviction for manslaughter for a man accused of the very brutal murder of a criminal solicitor;


Securing an acquittal for a man accused of the ‘mercy killing’ of his father


Successfully persuading the CPS to drop an allegation of a public order offence made against a serving M.P.


Defending a man extradited from Ireland for the murder of his landlord and concealment of his body.


Representing one of 7 defendants accused of a ferocious gang murder in Hoxton.


Successfully defending allegations of rape- where the defence was consent- in a trial in the absence of the defendant who had left the jurisdiction.


Successfully defending an 18 year old boy against allegations of sexual touching of an 11 year old in a school where he was on work experience.


Sarah has also successfully defended in two other murders in the last year resulting in acceptable pleas to significantly less serious offences.


She has been instructed in many high profile cases including (in 2016) the successful defence of a celebrity business man accused of paying a child for sex; (in 2015) defending Marie Black, a young woman accused of running and participating in a paedophile ring; and R v Vickery House, the defence of a clergyman arrested as part of the investigation into Bishop Peter Ball and concealment of abuse within the Anglican Church.


Also in 2015 she defended in two further large scale prosecutions of non recent sexual offending R v Baker, systemic sexual abuse in a care home of boys with learning difficulties over a 30 year period and  R v Lowe, historic sexual abuse of boys in two prominent Catholic boarding schools.


She has extensive experience in the most serious of sexual offences including allegations of multiple rape, cases with multiple complainants, and complex historic allegations. She has particular expertise of the principle issues often arising in such cases such as s41, the court’s approach to vulnerable witnesses, bad character, delay/abuse, expert evidence and third party disclosure.


Sarah also regularly advises in criminal appeals, predominantly murder and sexual offences, and in providing submissions to the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

Sarah is available for consultation, pre-interview and pre-charge advice in person or via video conferencing/Skype.


Sarah accepts both privately and publically funded instructions and can be instructed under the Direct Access scheme. Please contact her clerk for further details.




Homicide and Related Grave Offences


  • R v Dean Jones, Swansea Crown Court, murder, convicted manslaughter.
  • R v Robert Griffiths, Swansea Crown Court, 2016 trial, acquitted murder. 
  • R v David Ellis, Swansea Crown Court, 2016, trial, murder.
  • R v Kenny and others, Central Criminal Court, 2016, murder, convicted manslaughter.
  • R v Jalloh and 6 others, Central Criminal Court, 2016, 7 handed cut throat defence of ferocious gang killing in Hoxton.
  • R v Joanne Parkhouse Thomas, Swansea Crown Court, July 2015, murder, convicted perverting the course of justice.
  • R v Hamilton and othersCentral Criminal Court April 2013, murder. (Read more)
  • R v ShireCentral Criminal Court, 2010 fatal shooting of a Camden schoolboy, successfully representing one of three members of same family tried for murder.(Read more)
  • R v WeddellSt Albans Crown Court 2009 Metropolitan police inspector charged with the murder of his wife and alleged to have killed his mother-in-law before committing suicide. (Read more)
  • R v SwinfordLewes Crown Court 2008 manslaughter conviction for elderly man who killed another by deliberately crashing his own car in a suicide attempt.
  • R v KarimiCentral Criminal Court 2007 man with severe war induced PTSD charged with beheading of wife’s lover.
  • R v GourdeCentral Criminal Court, 2007 attempted murder by shooting in a West London park.
  • R v Vincent Central Criminal Court 2006 'So Solid Crew' murder retrials, acquitted. (Read more)
  • R v BarrettReading Crown Court 2006, street murder of a man using a champagne bottle.
  • R v Firkins Exeter Crown Court 2005 Cornish double murder of elderly couple. (Read more)
  • R v Syron MartinCentral Criminal Court 2004 fatal gang shooting of the leader of the Tottenham Man Dem, convicted of manslaughter not murder, featured in the BBC series on Operation Trident ‘Murder Blues’.
  • R v Berchie and another, Central Criminal Court 2004, fatal stabbing of one schoolboy by another in East Ham.

Criminal Appeals

Sarah is regularly instructed in complex criminal appeals to the Court of Appeal and advises on applications to the CCRC.


  • A-G Reference [2016] EWCA Crim 1836 - successful prevention of an increase in the minimum term for murder for gain.
  • A-G Reference No 71 of 2014, successful prevention of an increase in Rhiannon Brooker’s sentence for perverting the course of justice in making 20 false allegations of rape.
  • DW [2012] EWCA Crim 949, successful appeal of elderly man imprisoned for offences against his granddaughter, which allowed for his immediate release. (Junior alone).
  • R v Barkshire and 19 others, [2012] Crim.L.R. 453 successful appeal against conviction of Climate change activists following the abuse of process and subsequent forced disclosure of the activities of undercover police officer Mark Kennedy. (Led junior) (Read more)
  • Chivers [2011] EWCA Crim 1212 appeal of a disabled man against conviction for murder by stabbing. (Junior alone)
  • R v Firkins [2008] EWCA Crim 2981 four day appeal against conviction for double murder of an elderly couple in Wadebridge, Cornwall. (Led junior)
  • R v Anwoir and others [2008] 4 ALL ER 582, now the leading case on proving “criminal property” in money laundering. (Led Junior) 
  • R v Karimi [2006] 1 All ER 759, A specially convened five Judge Court determining the post Holley conflict between the Privy Council and the Court of Appeal on provocation as a defence to murder. (Led Junior)
  • Attorney General's Reference No 88 of 2005 (Syron Martin), sentence for manslaughter by shooting. (Led junior)
  • R v Cairns and others [2003] 1 W.L.R. 796 leading case on defence of marital coercion, the calling of discredited witnesses, indictment order and disclosure of defence statements. (Junior alone)
  • R (On the application of C) v Balham Youth Court[2003] Crim.L.R. 636 (Junior alone)

Other Serious Criminal Offences

  • R v Brooker, Bristol Crown Court, 2014, trainee barrister accused of 20 false allegations of rape and assault, (leading Ben Newton).
  • R v DooneyLiverpool Crown Court, 2013, successful defence of a man accused of conspiring to import and supply on £140 million cocaine hidden in frozen beef delivered to his cold store. (Read more
  • R v Pudwell(Marshall and others), Birmingham Crown Court, 2013, supply of cocaine, successful defence of police plant of kilos of cocaine arising from corruption within SOCU. (Read More)
  • R v Kalloo Harrow Crown Court 2012, fraud in excess of £100k (leading junior)
  • R v Jensen (and 12 others) Inner London Crown Court 2012 Notting Hill rioting case involving gang robberies of restaurant diners, grievous bodily harm and looting.
  • R v Dodgeon Isleworth Crown Court 2011 university lecturer charged with possession of ecstasy taken by a teenager who died after finding it at a party in his home. (Read more)
  • R v SSnaresbrook Crown Court 2011 defending the lead performer in a popular Burlesque Jazz Band on charges of grievous bodily harm upon an audience member during a performance.
  • R v McGowan and othersSouthwark Crown Court 2010, £1.5 million cashier fraud of Halifax Bank.
  • R v BrittonChelmsford Crown Court 2009 representing a woman charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice by reporting being the victim of serious indictable offences such as shooting, stabbing and rape, alleged to have been staged by her, who claimed in her defence to be a victim of corrupt police officers and gangsters. (Read more)
  • R v Anwoir and others2007, a 50 million euro money laundering case. 

Serious Sexual offences

  • R v AB-P Kingston Crown Court, 2016, successful defence of 18 year old on work experience in a school accused of sexually assaulting 11 year old pupil.
  • R v DR Central Criminal Court, 2016, successful defence of celebrity businessman accused of paying a 13 year old for sex.
  • R v HA, Blackfriars Crown Court, 2016 successful defence in absence of defendant accused of rape, relying on consent defence.
  • R v Vickery House, Central Criminal Court, 2015, defence of Church of England vicar accused of historical sexual offences against young men within the church.
  • R v K, Reading Crown Court 2015, successful defence of man accused of raping and beating his wife.
  • R v Black and others Norwich Crown Court, 2015. defence of woman accused of heading up a paedophile ring raping very young children.
  • R v CB Maidstone Crown Court, 2015 defence of allegations from 24 learning disabled complainants of historic sexual abuse in a care home over 4 decades.
  • R v DL Southwark Crown Court, 2015 defence of allegations from ten complainants alleging historic sexual abuse in two prominent Catholic independent schools.
  • R v L Woolwich Crown Court 2014 , successful defence of man accused of re-enacting ‘50 Shades of Grey’ without consent.
  • R v S Kingston Crown Court, 2013, successful defence of a man accused of a campaign of rape and violence against his former partner in breach of a restraining order.
  • R v A Basildon Crown Court 2013 a series of historic rape trials against one defendant with allegations dating from 1972-2007 involving seven different complainants successfully severed.
  • R v WWoolwich Crown Court 2013 successful defence of a man charged with stranger rape on the Old Kent Road.
  • R v GWood Green Crown Court 2012 successful defence of man charged with rape of prominent campaigner for Immigration detainees.
  • R v RCentral Criminal Court 2012 successful defence of university student charged with serious sexual assault whilst heavily intoxicated.
  • R v SBirmingham Crown Court 2011 successful defence of teenage Afghan refugee charged with a campaign of rape against his foster carer.
  • R v JCambridge Crown Court 2011 successful defence of employee of well known loan company charged with ‘sex for loans’ rapes.
  • R v R Snaresbrook Crown Court, 2010 successful half time submission for a man accused of vaginal and anal rape of his 8 year old step daughter.
  • R v Qaio, successful defence of prominent visiting Chinese acupuncturist charged with indecently assaulting a patient in the course of treatments.
  • R v F Portsmouth Crown Court successful defence of an charged with serious sexual assault of a 4 year old.

Protest Cases

  • R v Barkshire and othersNottingham Crown Court, 2011 represented 20 Climate Change protesters during their trial for conspiracy to occupy and shutdown one of the largest coal fired power stations in Britain, running a defence of necessity and calling world renowned experts on climate change, professors and MP’s.
  • R v Pawling and othersNottingham Crown Court 2011-12 representing one of the 6 climate change activists in the second Ratcliffe on Soar trial submitting arguments on abuse and disclosure leading to the collapse of the prosecution and the subsequent inquiries into the actions of the police and the Crown Prosecution Service. (Read more)
  • R v SteelLincoln Crown Court 2009 first criminal prosecution for conspiracy to commit offences on a tortious basis under s145 SOCPA.
  • R v GoodyearBirmingham Crown Court 2009 prosecution of ‘Sequani’ animal rights activists in the first trial under s145 of the Serious and Organised Crime and Police Act 2005.
  • R v AveryWinchester Crown Court 2008-2009 acting for the youngest of the SHAC organisers charged with conspiracy to blackmail companies associated with Huntingdon Life Sciences. (Read more).

Inquests and Inquiries

Sarah recently acted for the family of 10 year old Thomas Warren at the inquest into his death after discharge from hospital university. She also acted for university lecturer Brian Dodgeon at the inquest into the death of Isobel Reilly who died after ingesting ecstasy at his home. 

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