Paul McBride

Paul McBride QC (13 November 1964 – 4 March 2012)[1] was a Scottish criminal lawyer based in Edinburgh. He was a board member of the Scottish Legal Aid Board, and a former vice chairman of the Faculty of Advocates Criminal Bar Association.[2] He died suddenly on a trip to Pakistan.


McBride, an only child from a working-class family,[3] attended the private Catholic school St Aloysius' College, Glasgow and thereafter studied law at the University of Strathclyde from the age of 16. He graduated with an LLB aged 19, and joined a solicitors firm in Ayrshire. After completing his two-year traineeship with the firm he devilled with a practising advocate for nine months, and was admitted advocate in 1988. He was appointed Queen's Counsel in 2000 aged 36, one of the youngest ever in the UK.[4]

Legal careerEdit

McBride was very well known for his intelligence, his skilful advancement of the merits of Scottish Law as well as his courage.[5] He often represented high-profile clients in controversial criminal cases. He led the legal teams which won the acquittal of human rights lawyer Aamer Anwar of contempt of court in July 2008, and Gail Sheridan of perjury in HM Advocate v Sheridan and Sheridan. When he was appointed to the latter case the Daily Record called it a "legal dream team".[6]

In 2009, McBride defended Rangers and Scotland goalkeeper Allan McGregor on sex attack claims which never reached court.[7]

Later, McBride represented Celtic F.C. on a number of legal and disciplinary matters. He issued statements to the press about incidents that involved Celtic and defended Celtic's staff in court including touchline bans for their manager,[8] drink driving charges,[9] charges of child neglect[10] and speaking out about football officials.[11]

In April 2011, McBride branded the SFA "the laughing stock of world football", and "not merely dysfunctional and dishonest, but biased".[12] This statement came after an SFA disciplinary hearing involving three members of Rangers staff.[12] McBride later apologised for the remarks after the SFA threatened legal action and made a formal complaint to the Faculty of Advocates.[13][14]

Personal lifeEdit

McBride was a fan of football club Celtic and was considered to be one of the club's "highest profile supporters".[15] McBride was gay and had been in a civil partnership with his partner Gary Murphy since 2007.[16]


In April 2009 McBride made a high-profile defection from the Scottish Labour Party to the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party.[17]

On 6 November 2011, McBride resigned from the Scottish Conservative Party hours after the election of leader Ruth Davidson, describing the party as "divided and dysfunctional" and "a bunch of unreconstructed morons".[18]

Bomb threatEdit

In April 2011, McBride, Neil Lennon and Trish Godman, public figures all connected with Celtic, were sent parcel bombs.[19] The device sent to McBride was intercepted by Royal Mail at a depot in Kilwinning.[19] This resulted in the trial of two men, HM Advocate v Muirhead and McKenzie, in which McBride was due to appear as a witness, but died before he was called.

Trevor Muirhead, 44, and Neil McKenzie, 42 were later jailed for five years, having been found guilty of sending devices in the post to McBride, Celtic manager Neil Lennon, and Trish Godman.


On 4 March 2012 McBride died in his sleep while in Pakistan. He was visiting Pakistan on business with fellow lawyer Aamer Anwar. His body was discovered in a hotel room in the city Lahore by Anwar, who said later that McBride had been unwell during the trip. A post-mortem examination carried out on McBride has found that there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death. The post-mortem was carried out at the Mayo Hospital in Lahore, Pakistan.[20] His Requiem Mass was held in St Aloysius's Church, Garnethill, Glasgow, and many prominent figures in Scottish public life attended, including First Minister Alex Salmond, and Neil Lennon, then manager of Celtic FC, who was a pall bearer. He was buried in St Conval's, Barrhead.[citation needed]



  1. ^ There are conflicting versions of his age and year of birth, the Guardian, Herald, and Daily Telegraph gives it as 1963, the Scotsman, BBC and Daily Record as 1964.
  2. ^ "Board members and Senior Staff". Scottish Legal Aid Board. Archived from the original on 29 August 2008. Retrieved 27 August 2009.
  3. ^ Richard Wilson (13 April 2011). "Quality control". HeraldScotland. Herald and Times. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  4. ^ "Leading Scots lawyer Paul McBride QC found dead". BBC News. 4 March 2012. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  5. ^ Cramb, Auslan (5 March 2012). "Bomb plot lawyer Paul McBride QC found dead in Pakistan". The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group Limited 2012. Retrieved 5 March 2012.
  6. ^ "Tommy Sheridan turns to legal dream team for £20m perjury case fight". Daily Record. Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 23 March 2011.
  7. ^ "Rape charge SPL ace David Goodwillie hires Allan McGregor's brief". Daily Record. Trinity Mirror. 29 January 2011. Retrieved 1 September 2011.
  8. ^ "SFA pursue eight-game ban for Celtic's Neil Lennon". BBC Sport. 17 March 2011. Retrieved 6 April 2011.
  9. ^ "Celtic coach Alan Thompson given drink-drive ban". BBC News. 23 February 2011. Retrieved 6 April 2011.
  10. ^ "Celtic player and his wife charged with child neglect". HeraldScotland. Herald and Times. 10 January 2011. Retrieved 6 April 2011.
  11. ^ "Celtic feel 'vindicated' by ref Dougie McDonald's exit". BBC Sport. 29 November 2010. Retrieved 6 April 2011.
  12. ^ a b "Lawyer Paul McBride blasts SFA's Rangers verdict". BBC Sport. 12 April 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
  13. ^ "SFA threatens lawyer Paul McBride with legal action". BBC Sport. 13 April 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
  14. ^ "Paul McBride QC will not face SFA legal action". BBC Sport. 20 April 2011. Retrieved 20 April 2011.
  15. ^ "Hundreds attend funeral for lawyer Paul McBride". BBC News. 12 March 2012. Retrieved 12 March 2012.
  16. ^ "Celtic manager Neil Lennon pays tribute to friend Paul McBride as efforts continue to bring QC's body home". Daily Record. Trinity Mirror. 6 March 2012. Retrieved 12 March 2012.
  17. ^ "QC Paul McBride switches allegiance to Conservatives over party's 'smears and fears'". Scotland on Sunday. Johnston Publishing. 26 April 2009. Retrieved 8 October 2009.
  18. ^ "QC Paul McBride leaves Tories after two years". BBC News. 6 November 2011. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  19. ^ a b "Neil Lennon parcel bomb 'cowardly act'". BBC News. 20 April 2011. Retrieved 20 April 2011.
  20. ^ "Top Scottish lawyer Paul McBride found dead in hotel room in Pakistan". Daily Record. Trinity Mirror. 4 March 2012. Retrieved 4 March 2012.