Leading Junior, Legal 500 2023.
Before joining chambers in March 2017 Philip Beardwell worked for 10 years within the CPS across the West Midlands and, prior to that, for 10 years as a defence practitioner for firms in Shropshire. He has been a solicitor, a duty solicitor, a solicitor-advocate, Crown advocate and barrister. He has advised clients in police stations and guard rooms and gone on to represent them in the Magistrates’ court, Crown Court and court martial. He has also advised the police on several, major investigations and prosecuted at a majority of the court centres across the West Midlands. His experience means that he not only understands the law but also the pressures and constraints encountered by others working within the criminal justice system.
Philip has significant experience of homicide cases:
- R v JR: sexually motivated murder of an acquaintance. Pre-planned (an attempt was made on an earlier victim), sadistic and sexual offending detected, body disposed of and an attempt to flee the jurisdiction. Police advice.
- R v LS: sexually motivated murder of stranger. D stalked his victim on the basis she resembled his former partner. Murdered in her home. Sadistic and sexual offending detected. Assumed victim’s identity post mortem by wearing her clothes and walking her dog before attempting to destroy evidence by arson. Police advice.
- R v SC: D convicted of manslaughter of family member after faking mental health diagnosis. Murdered acquaintance after release from maximum security hospital. Tried, unsuccessfully, to argue diminished responsibility. Plea to murder.
- R v DS. D murdered his wife for financial gain. Convicted after trial.
- R v B, S & S. Prostitute, her lover and a client murdered another client for financial gain. Convicted after trial.
- R v C, M & D. Gang related murder. Convicted after trial.
- R v SD & BD. Joint enterprise murder of a homeless busker. A number of BD’s family also prosecuted for perverting the course of justice arising out of proceedings. Convicted after trial.
- R v G & R. Joint enterprise killing of friend following a drunken row. Plea to manslaughter.
- R v L. Domestic violence murder of D’s husband after many previous incidents of domestic violence towards him. Convicted after trial.
- Mentally disordered Worcestershire man murdered mentally disordered wife. Plea to murder.
- Shropshire pensioner killed wife following the onset of her senile dementia. Police advice.
- Staffordshire man and accomplices murdered a former partner of D’s wife in attempt to retrieve intimate photographs of her. Police advice.
- R v TW. Domestic violence murder of defendant’s mother. Repeated knife attack by defendant, who had longstanding mental health issues. Guilty plea to manslaughter by diminished responsibility.
- R v O: D took teenage girl to a place where he once had sex with his wife, raped her and then strangled her with her shoelaces. Plea to murder.
- R v ZS and others. Prosecution of seven prisoners serving life sentences who stabbed and robbed a fellow prisoner.
- R v BW. Prosecution of a single punch GBH with intent, converted into a murder on the death of the victim.
Recent defence instructions include:
- R v LH: Rape allegation made by partner. Defendant in breach of restraining order. Complainant used intermediary to give evidence. Ground rules hearing used to determine the extent of cross examination. Acquitted.
- R v BR: False imprisonment, blackmail and ABH. Two defendants and complainant all drug addicts and/or alcoholics. Defendant and co-accused alleged to have kept their friend in a house against his will, assaulted him with a hammer and demanded he obtained money from his mother in order to either repay a debt or obtain more drugs. Video link special measures for complainant from remote location. Acquitted.
- R v NT: Rape allegation made by former partner. Significant disclosure issues from social media relevant to the case. Case prosecuted by Queen’s Counsel. Acquitted. Not a case in Penge, not a bungalow and not a murder but Philip’s first case where he can claim he acted “alone and without a leader”.
- R v GN. S.18 plea leading to Court of Appeal case concerning treatment of female defendants with young children.  EWCA Crim 1086.
- R v DR. Motor manslaughter following a failed suicide attempt.
- R v QJ. Three month long trial of conspirators in an organised crime group. Acquitted.
- R v WS. Stranger rape.
Philip also has significant experience of dealing with fatal road traffic cases and offences of serious violence at trial.
Philip has considerable experience of dealing with sexual offences including stranger rape, acquaintance rape, recent and non-recent child sexual abuse and internet sexual offending. He was part of the team who produced the HMIC/HMCPSI report on the use of ABE interviews in cases of child sexual abuse. Recent cases have caused him to consider the issue of internet vigilantes and write an article on this point for the chambers’ newsletter.
He has dealt with cases involving multi-jurisdictional issues involving organised crime groups, drug importation, evasion of revenue and sexual offending.
Philip has also advised the police during and after an incident of widespread disorder following a political rally and prosecuted 32 defendants (split into two indictments) following widespread violence at a football match.
Philip is on the CPS list as a Grade 4 prosecutor. He has a particular interest in dealing with cases where mental health issues are involved.
When not at work Philip enjoys cooking for, and socialising with, neighbours and friends. Although basically inept at sport Philip enjoys watching cricket, rugby and football whenever the opportunity arises. His greatest passion however is for music. He is a keen flautist and has played in a number of local orchestras, both in the UK and (many years ago) in France and Italy. He has a vast collection of classical and jazz CDs and adds to this whenever he can.
‘A Diligent barrister with a good eye for detail and an in-depth knowledge of law and it’s application’ Legal 500