Estelle Thornber

Since the completion of her Pupillage in 2016, Estelle has developed an impressive Criminal Defence Practice. 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.

A recent case 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 London’s largest seizure of GHB/GBL to date. Estelle’s client was ultimately acquitted, having successfully advanced the defence of Duress [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 [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 alleged tax frauds 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.

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.

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.

Education & Awards

BPP Leeds: BPTC – Very Competent

Newcastle University: LLB – 2.1

ADR Accredited Civil and Commercial Mediator

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


Modern Hebrew (Fluent)

French (Basic)


Furnival Chambers