Estelle Thornber

Year of Call - 2012

Full Profile

Estelle has developed an impressive Criminal Defence Junior Practice since her offer of Tenancy in October 2016. She is instructed in serious and complex matters in the Crown Court including Murder, Rape and large-scale Drug Supply Conspiracies. She is meticulous in her case preparation and provides an outstanding level of dedication and commitment to each and every client.

Estelle’s sharp and effective style in the Courtroom is complemented by her compassionate and approachable manner with her clients in conference.

One of Estelle’s recent cases of note involved a 9-week re-trial acting as Junior Defence Counsel for the First Defendant in a multimillion-pound Class A, B and C sophisticated Drugs Conspiracy and Money Laundering matter at Inner London Crown Court; the case concerned the largest seizure of GHB/GBL to date in London. Estelle’s client was ultimately acquitted, having successfully advanced the defence of Duress [Trial: August – October 2020].

Estelle also recently completed a 6-week trial acting as Junior Defence Counsel in a Murder and Drug Conspiracy matter at Oxford Crown Court [Trial: October-December 2020].

Prior to commencing her pupillage, Estelle worked as a paralegal in the Crown Court Department of a busy Criminal Defence Firm in Central London and in the Catastrophic Injury Team of a leading City Law Firm; Estelle appreciates the demands placed upon instructing solicitors in modern-day practice and the importance of clear communication and impeccable client-care.

Estelle continues to act as Independent Counsel for the FCA, assisting with an ongoing high- profile financial investigation [August 2019 – Present]. Estelle was also previously instructed as Independent Disclosure Counsel for HMRC as part of an extensive investigation regarding an alleged tax fraud connected with football transfer fees [April 2018 – August 2019].

Reported Cases:

Regina v Yaryare and Others [2020] EWCA Crim 1314 – Estelle was led by Colin Witcher of Chambers in this Appeal before the Vice President concerning the admissibility and limitations of Police evidence in the context of Identification and Recognition of Defendants. The case now features in the Criminal Law Review and also appears in the Crown Court Compendium as a decisive authority on issues relating to Attacks on the Character of Witnesses under the s.101(1)(g) CJA 2003 Bad Character Provisions.

“Full Court Judgment of Regina v Yaryare and Others [2020] EWCA Crim 1314”


Regina v Kay Strugnall [2018] EWCA Crim 2895 – Estelle appeared on behalf of the defendant at the initial Sentencing Hearing in the Crown Court and the subsequent Attorney General’s Reference Hearing at the Court of Appeal in November 2018. This Judgment highlights the restrictions on the imposition of Drug Rehabilitation Requirements attached to Community Orders in place of ‘short to moderate’ custodial sentences. The Judgment can be found here:

“Full Court Judgment of Regina v Kay Strugnall [2018] EWCA Crim 2895″


Andrew Randell v DPP [2018] EWHC 1048 (Admin) – Estelle successfully stated a case for the Opinion of the High Court following the outcome of a Magistrates’ Court trial. The client’s convictions for Arson and Theft were subsequently quashed at the High Court and no re-trial was ordered; this case reaffirmed the principle that a witness’ best evidence is given live, where it can be open to challenge. This case further confirmed that statutory provisions, not the Criminal Procedure Rules, determine the admissibility of Hearsay Evidence. A short commentary on the case by UK Practical Law is available here:

“UK PLC Case Comment on Andrew Randell v DPP [2018] EWHC 1048 (Admin)”


BPP Leeds: BPTC – Very Competent

Newcastle University: LLB – 2.1

ADR Accredited Civil and Commercial Mediator


Modern Hebrew (Fluent)

French (Basic)

Roles in Chambers

Equality and Diversity Officer

Mini-Pupillage selection


The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple Otto & Sadie Rix Prize 2016



Cases of note

  • criminal law
    R v G [June 2018]

    Croydon Magistrates’ Court: Estelle’s client was acquitted of two charges involving assault, including an alleged assault upon his child. The evidence against the Defendant included body worn footage of injuries to the Complainant and the child immediately following the alleged assault.

    R v H [January 2018]

    Luton Magistrates’ Court: The Defendant was acquitted in respect of one charge of Causing Unnecessary Suffering to an Animal, contrary to s.4(1) of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. The trial involved independent witnesses for the Crown and legal submissions on behalf of the Defence.

    R v N (A Youth) [December 2018]

    Croydon Youth Court: Successful application inviting the recusal of a District Judge following a two-day youth trial. This application was made by Estelle after her 12-year-old client’s previous convictions were introduced by the Co-Defendant’s representative without notice. The matter was listed for legal arguments to be heard; despite the usual position that as Judges of fact and law, District Judges are able to put hearsay and bad character ‘out of their minds’, the Judge accepted Estelle’s submissions and recused himself.

    R v S [October 2017]

    Bromley Magistrates’ Court: Estelle successfully argued mitigating circumstances (‘Exceptional Hardship’), allowing her client to avoid mandatory disqualification and to continue driving with 15 points on their licence.

    R v O and Others [February 2018 – May 2018]

    Leicester Crown Court: Estelle acted as Junior Counsel in this 9-week trial involving 12 Defendants accused of charges ranging from Attempted Murder to multiple Conspiracies to Commit Violent Disorder.

    R v I [February 2018]

    Luton Crown Court: Estelle’s client was unanimously acquitted of a knifepoint robbery following a 4-day trial.

    R v C [January 2018]

    Cambridge Crown Court: A custodial sentence imposed in respect of Possession with Intent to Supply Class A Drugs (MDMA) was suspended following mitigation; the Judge accepted the Defence’s submissions that the case fell outside the usual applicable bracket of the Sentencing Guidelines.

    R v CU [November 2017]

    Stafford Crown Court: Not guilty verdicts recorded following a two-day trial in respect of one Count of section 18 Grievous Bodily Harm with intent, contrary to the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. The allegation involved a stabbing using improvised weapons and pouring of boiling water over the victim.

    R v CO [August 2017]

    Wolverhampton Crown Court: Client unanimously acquitted by a jury following a trial in respect of two Counts of dwelling burglary.

    R v H [Inner London Crown Court]

    Privately instructed Counsel in Possession with Intent to Supply Class A matter (36 wraps of cocaine); matter was discontinued post PTPH following successful representations made to the CPS by Counsel.

    R v D [Central Criminal Court]

    Privately instructed Defence Counsel in Possession with Intent to Supply Class A and False ID with Intent matter.

    R v A [Croydon Crown Court]

    Secured not guilty verdict in Category 1 Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm allegation involving weapon; Jury deliberated for less than 40 minutes.

    R v I [Camberwell Magistrates’ Court]

    Matter of Assault involved cross-examination of 8-year-old child in Court.

    R v R [Bromley Youth Court]

    Secured acquittal after trial in alleged Assault upon Store Manager by youth Defendant.

Shortlist ( )

Criminal Law

Business Crime


Immigration Law

Regulatory and Disciplinary Law

Sports Law