LAWYERS, judges and the legal community are in mourning following the death of a young "gentle" barrister from York.

Matthew Collins was 34.

He had been ill for a long time, but despite the difficulties this caused him continued to prepare cases and to appear before the courts until his death.

He regularly appeared at York Crown Court and was scheduled to appear before the court earlier this week, but died before he could.

Earlier this year, when one of his cases was adjourned to a period when he had planned to take a holiday the Recorder of York, Judge Sean Morris, told him to take the holiday.

But Mr Collins still attended court on the scheduled date to represent his client.

He summed up his attitude in an email to his head of chambers, John Elvidge QC.

“As I’ve always said – the only thing I want to do with my life is to be a barrister ….. there are always people with worse problems, and it does me good to help them,” he wrote.

Announcing his death to the assembled lawyers in York Crown Court, the Recorder of York, expressed his own sorrow about the death and paid tribute to Mr Collins.

The barrister was a member of Dere Street Chambers on Toft Green, York, and in Newcastle.

He was widely known and liked among local barristers and solicitors, court staff and others in the legal community.

Mr Elvidge wrote on the chambers' website: "All Matthew’s friends and colleagues, in Chambers and on Circuit, will mourn the premature death of a good and gentle man, and send their condolences to his family for the loss of a kind son of whom they can be very proud."

Mr Collins practised in civil, chancery and employment law as well as in criminal law..

He took a first class English degree from the University of York and was called to the Bar in 2010.

He worked for the Criminal Cases Review Commission before joining Dere Street Chambers.

Mr Collins' cat Oscar was regularly at his side as he worked on cases during the pandemic lockdowns.