A FORMER Worcester judge who jailed pedophile popstar Gary Glitter and was considered ‘one of the best lawyers of his generation’ has died.
His Honor Judge Alistair McCreath, former Worcester Honorary Recorder and Westminster Recorder, died on Sunday after a short illness.
MISSED: Judge Alistair McCreath
The 73-year-old imprisoned Glitter for 16 years, but was also known for advocating for the education of judges, promoting the courts’ use of the latest computer technology and helping the next generation of young lawyers.
Born in Ayr, Scotland and raised in the town of Troon, he is survived by his wife Julia, daughter of Anthony Clark who co-founded Harrison Clark Solicitors, his daughter Isobel, his son James and his two grandchildren, Alexander, five, and Thomas, two.
He had lived in Worcestershire since 1976, became a barrister in the early 1970s and was appointed circuit judge in 1996.
CONTRIBUTION: Alistair McCreath as Grand Master Clothiers of Worcester
Worcester Honorary Recorder Judge James Burbidge QC was joined by Judge Nicolas Cartwright and Judge Nicolas Cole and the town’s solicitors to pay his respects at Worcester Crown Court on Monday.
Judge Burbidge said: “It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of HH Alistair McCreath. He was a former Worcester Honorary Recorder (in fact I believe the first under the Courts Act), being the Resident Judge here until 2011. He was then appointed Senior Circuit Judge, Resident Judge at Southwark, taking the title of Recorder of Westminster.”
Retired in 2017, the former judge continued to work as an active member of the parole board. He was one of the original members of the Sentencing Council. He was instrumental in reviving the post of Recorder of Worcester in 2007 – a post that had been in abeyance since 1971. Justice McCreath felt that the post strengthened the links between the judiciary, the justice system and the city.
Richard Atkins QC, speaking on Monday, described the death of Alistair McCreath as both a shock and a sad loss, calling him a “beast of the bar” and a “very good judge” who was “at the forefront of computer technology”.
Mr Atkins said Judge McCreath jailed Gary Glitter, real name Paul Gadd. “He wasn’t in Paul Gadd’s gang when he turned 16,” Mr Atkins said. Judge McCreath also presided over the Tulisa and the Fake Sheik case – a trial that ultimately resulted in his acquittal.
Mr Atkins went on to describe Justice McCreath as a “great advocate for the training provided by the Judicial College”.
Judge Burbidge said that even when Judge McCreath retired as a circuit judge, he “worked all the way”, most recently for the parole board, giving a lecture about it to students at the University of Worcester who studied public protection.
He added: “He was at the Birmingham Bar in the chambers then known as 6 Fountain
Court and was rightly considered one of the best barristers and lawyers of his generation.
“He was appointed to Circuit Bench and first sat at Birmingham Crown Court before coming here. He has always been keen to help with the continuing education of judges to carry out their work.
“He had returned to live in Worcester and indeed he and his wife had joined us, the judges, here on the guided tour of the city to honor the 1621 Charter celebrations.
“Lord Hughes of Ombersley reminded me this morning that Alistair was in characteristically good shape when we last saw him, not so long ago, in October, presiding over the Worshipful Company of Worcester Clothiers at the Guildhall as last year he was High Master of that historic enterprise, and he was in generally expansive and cheerful form.
“So his death is a very big shock.
“Lord Hughes saw him a lot at Inner Temple where he was a great asset to that inn and very good at encouraging young members of the Bar and students just starting their careers.
“Lord Hughes says he always considered him a model judge – great reassuring presence, relaxed authority, knowledgeable of the law.
“Our thoughts are with Julia, his wife and family at this extremely sad time.”