Ian Henderson KC

  • Year of Call 1990
  • |
  • Silk 2016

Ian is an experienced and persuasive advocate. He is a very popular and busy silk who is comfortable dealing with difficult, serious and high profile cases.

Career Overview

Ian’s first 10 years of practice was at 8 Kings Bench Walk the Chambers of Leonard Woodley QC. In 2001, together with six others he set up Farringdon Chambers. It is now a flourishing and vibrant organisation. In 2016 Ian became the first “home grown” silk and in 2017 he became Head of Chambers.

Since taking silk Ian’s practice has crystallised into one where he almost exclusively defends in murders. He has spent significant parts of the last 3 years practicing at the Old Bailey, working with and holding his own with some the most highly regarded advocates in the country.

Ian is individually ranked in both the Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners.

Areas of Expertise

Ian only defends and has built his reputation and his practice on a solid foundation of hard graft. He is tactically astute, methodical in his preparation and fluent in his legal submissions (both oral and written). His cross examination is direct and no nonsense and his speeches are skilful and comprehensive. He knows how to make a jury listen and he is always passionate about his cases.

Ian is user friendly and excellent with clients both professional and lay. His communication skills are second to none. He is an advocate who gets the job done and he does not disappoint.

His practice encompasses a full range of serious top end criminal defence work both publicly funded and private. His specialist areas are murder, sexual offences and drugs conspiracies. For a number of years these have been the mainstay of his practice although he is equally at home with receiving instructions in cases involving financial crime and related areas. In addition to the above Ian has also undertaken Federation cases before the Crown Court and at disciplinary tribunal level. He is currently expanding into Health and Safety work. He also receives instructions from insurance companies in relation to Road Traffic work.

In relation to cases involving sexual offences his expertise is wide ranging. He has regularly appeared in cases involving child witnesses, historical allegations, the use of intermediaries, gang rapes and multiple victim cases as well as trials which involve issues of consent between adults. His approach is methodical, direct and fearless. He is able to tackle complex and delicate matters with a deft touch whilst at the same time ensuring that a clients case is presented wholeheartedly to a jury. His approach has ensured that this is an area where his instructing solicitors come back to him time and again and colleagues regularly ask for advice.

Notable Cases

2024. R v K. 3 week “encrochat” case.

3 handed trial at Cardiff Crown Court before HHJ Hobson. A Venetic case. It was a conspiracy to supply cocaine involving between 30kg and 50kg with a value said to be up to £5m being sourced in England and distributed in Wales. Indictment ran from March to May 2020. There were multiple encro phones and the case revolved around the transcripts of the calls. My client was said to be linked to the moving and counting of very large sums of money. There was CCTV evidence together with family connections. The ’Shrimpton’ material was dealt with by a body of agreed facts. There were submissions relating to the admissibility of declarations made by others in furtherance of the common enterprise.

2024. R v N. 3 week murder/manslaughter trial at Leicester Crown Court before HHJ Spencer KC.

This was a stabbing following an argument which arose over drugs. A number of witnesses had vulnerabilities related to drugs and alcohol and had special measures. The case centred around CCTV, phone contact and a phone recording of a relevant FaceTime conversation. The trial was complicated by the tactical decisions relating to giving evidence and the appropriate mechanism for distancing our client from his co defendants without it becoming a cut throat. Issues of background bad character and pleas from co-defendants added to the complexity. Our client was acquitted.

2024; R v S. 10 week Murder Trial at Central Criminal Court before the Common Sergeant.

5 handed murder and robbery. It was a cutthroat from the start. Extensive CCTV including Nest doorbell footage with audio. The cut-throat was full on. 4 against 1. All defendants gave evidence. It included an extensive hearsay and severance application following the disclosure of relevant material after the evidence had closed and as speeches were about to commence. Ians client was autistic and had learning difficulties. He was assisted throughout by an intermediary. It was a challenging and complex case made more difficult by the unpredictable behaviour of those in the dock. 

2023. R v B. 9 week Murder Trial at Maidstone Crown Court before Mr. J. Cavanagh (Circuit Presider).

The case involved the murder of an 18 month old baby during covid. My client was the new partner of the mother of the child. There was a full on cut-throat between the two defendants. The medical evidence in the case came from a stellar line up of pathologist and involved a wide variety of expertise including radiology, odontology and ophthalmology. My client gave evidence for 5 days and the co defendant was in the witness box for a similar period. There was a significant body of phone and social media material and the case was very high profile attracting much press interest. 

2023. R v U. 5 week S18 GBH/Causing or Allowing Trial at Luton Crown Court before Mrs. J. O’Farrell.

The case involved the deliberate assaults on an 8 week old baby over a 6 week period during covid. The injuries included the breaking of a number of different bones. The defendant’s were the child's parents. The case involved a full on cut -throat. The evidence came from a number of different paediatric experts including a radiologist who aged the injuries. The case involved a background that included linked family proceedings. There was a significant hearsay application involving a 4 year old sibling. There was evidence from foster carers, health visitors and other health professionals. My client gave evidence over 4 days.  The case had mental health issues, an intermediary and an interpreter. 

2023. R v N. 9 week murder trial. Reading Crown Court. HHJ Nawaz.

Multi handed, gang/area based killing which was part of a set of tit for tat stabbings. The Crown’s case centred on CCTV, cell site, phone contact and because my client's phone had been seized during the course of the investigation there was also GPS. There was a substantial body of bad character material. There was a change of instructions after the trial started which necessitated a re drafting of the defence statement and a re visiting of the evidence and witnesses which had already been called. It was a highly emotive case with members of all families attending court daily. There were undertones of cut throat. Ian's client gave evidence for 4 days.

2023. R v M. 1 week (privately funded) ABH trial. Snaresbrook Crown Court. HHJ Greene.

Domestic violence allegations. One involving the pouring of boiling water over the upper torso and the other, stamping and kicking whilst on the ground. Cross examination of the complainant and recent complaint witnesses. Consideration of expert material. There were numerous defence character witnesses who also gave some factual evidence relating to the negative character of the complainant. There were a number of additional allegations and counter allegations forming a body of bad character and background material which was used by both parties for motive. Acquitted of the most serious allegation. Defences of denial, accident and self defence all relevant.

2023. R v B. 2 week murder trial. CCC. HHJ Foster.

Ian's client was a vulnerable adult who was resident in a half way house. All residents were vulnerable with drink, drugs and/or criminal backgrounds. Allegation that whilst in drink Ian's client stabbed his friend 14 times following a minor argument. There were a number of confessions that had to be dealt with. There were issues relating to the causation of the fatal wound together with suggestions that others or another may be responsible. Pathology and blood spatter were important aspect as was voice recognition relating to the 999 call during which it appeared the fatal blows were administered. 

2023. R v A. (Privately funded) sentence. Two counts of supply of class A.

Issues concerning full credit (R v Plaku), the forensic analytical algorithm, categorisation, role and general mitigation. Favourable conclusions reached by the sentencing judge in relation to each aspect.

2023. R v M. 5 Handed murder. Winchester CC before Mrs J Cheema-Grubb

7 week trial before Mrs. J. Cheema-Grubb at Winchester Crown Court. The case concerned the pursuit and attack of an individual related to drugs. It was a revenge killing. There was extensive cell site and call data evidence. There were also challenging and complex submissions related to confession evidence from one of the defendants that touched on all of the co- defendants. Additional arguments were pursued in relation to declarations made in furtherance of the conspiracy which became the centrepiece of the crown’s case. All defendants gave evidence and two accepted their involvement whilst in the witness box. The inter connection of the cases was a significant and challenging issue throughout.

2023. R v B. 7 handed gang related revenge murder. CCC before HHJ Rafferty KC

15 week trial before HHJ Rafferty KC at CCC. The allegation was that this attack and stabbing was part of a long standing series of tit-for tat assaults and killings between two East London gangs. There was extensive CCTV and call records. Bad character was an issue throughout. My client was acquitted on all counts. He was a driver who was said to have taken half of the group to two venues including the scene of the murder and then assisted with the departure from the scene.

2023. R v C. Guilty plea to Murder and Fraud. Snaresbrook CC.

The case was transferred from CCC to Snaresbrook Crown Court. The case involved the killing by C of his mother's 67 year old neighbour by strangulation. The Crown's case was that he was a drug addict who was desperate for money. C tried to borrow money from the neighbour. When she refused, he strangled her with a dressing gown cord in a drug rampage, stole her debit card and left her body for nearly a week. The case involved complex psychiatric issues, violent fantasies and childhood trauma. It was challenging and highly emotive. Members of the deceased's family read their own VPS at the sentence hearing.

2022. R v B. 7 week Murder trial. Lewes CC before Mr. Justice Hilliard

The case involved the murder of two young women. The body of the first remains missing. The second was incinerated in a barrel.  There were two separate investigations and two investigation teams. This was a case where Duncan Atkinson KC led for the crown. It was based substantially on circumstantial evidence with motive as a central issue. The crown relied upon cell site, ANPR, eye witness accounts, forensic archaeology and CCTV. They presented their case through a very detailed timeline. The defences were different as between the two cases and so wholly separate considerations came into play. The defendant was in the witness box for six days. It was a case which was emotionally charged, multi-layered and extremely complex. It had a great deal of public and press interest and was challenging in many different ways.

2022. R v L. 1 week trial. Kingston CC. Allegation of causing serious injury by dangerous driving

This related to a collision outside a school gate where a parent lost control of her vehicle and caused serious injury to 5 children and 3 adults. It was a highly sensitive, taxing and extremely emotive case which attracted significant press attention. The case centred upon CCTV and expert accident reconstruction evidence. It involved detailed consideration of the twin topics of “pedal misapplication” and “Perception Response Times”. Ian's client was acquitted of the main count. 

2022. R v N. 6 week trial. Maidstone CC. Allegation of attempted murder by the use of a firearm

The evidence in the case included CCTV, eyewitnesses, a hostile complainant, numerous experts - DNA, GSR and ballistics. The case also involved consideration of the validation and merits of ground breaking statistical evaluation from an international leading expert who was dealing with mixed DNA from closely related individuals. This required the instruction and conferences with a further leading international defence expert (based in Australia) as well as conferences in the other fields. It was a tactically very difficult case because as well as the direct issues, consideration had to be given to the stance taken by the co-defendant which was different and at odds from that taken by Ian's client

2022: R v F. 12 week murder trial before HHJ Dhir QC at CCC. 4 handed gang stabbing

This case centred on a “ride out” by a group associated to an East London gang into enemy territory. Ian had to deal with a significant change of defence, CCTV, prison transcripts, significant bad character material, cell site,  attribution and the dropping of phones. There was a cut throat. The defendants were all young as was the deceased. Ian’s client's raised self defence.

2022. R v H. 3 week murder trial before HHJ Lees at Woolwich Crown Court

The case involved the killing of a cell mate. Although the ostensible defence was self defence this was in reality a case which centred on diminished responsibility. It involved experts in pathology, blood spatter and evidence from three consultant psychiatrists. This material was detailed and complex. The client was a diagnosed schizophrenic who was an in patient at Broadmoor.

2022. R v W. 3 week murder trial before HHJ Wood QC at Isleworth Crown Court

This case involved the killing of a child. It was a highly emotive and sensitive case involving a significant body of circumstantial evidence which centred on CCTV and identification through clothing. There was a lack of obvious motive and it was a case which involved the highlighting of alternative candidates. Ian's client had a very low IQ and had the benefit of an intermediary throughout the proceedings.

2021/2022. R v X. 5 month trial before the Recorder of Haringey. Wood Green Crown Court. 4 handed shooting. 

This was said to be a pre planned and  targeted killing in the street. The crown’s case relied upon extensive cell site, phone contact and CCTV. There was a cut throat defence and a gang background although the motive was likely to have related to a business conflict. Ian's client was 16 years old at the date of the offence but the co-defendants were all adults. He was acquitted of murder and the firearms offence. 

2022: R v B. Birmingham CC. Allegation of murder resulting in a plea to manslaughter. 2 hander.

The crown’s case was that following a road rage incident Ian's client (the driver) deliberately ran a motorcyclist and his pillion passenger off the road. Extensive CCTV, identification evidence and traffic collision material. Defence experts. Both defendants pleaded to manslaughter.

2022: R v X. WGCC. A 6 week  murder and S18 GBH trial. (Stabbing).

This case related to a group of teenagers who fell out over insults traded on social media who resolved the dispute with a knife fight. The surviving complainant was one of the combatants, the deceased was a peacekeeper caught up in the incident. Unusual issues of conditional intent. Full on cut throat defences. Ian's client was 15 years old at the commission of the offence. 

2021. R v M. 7 week trial before Recorder of London. CCC. 4 handed gang based killing.

This was a ride out where 4 members of an East London Gang drove into enemy territory with the intention of attacking a rival gang member. The deceased was an innocent member of the public who was mistakenly taken to be a rival. The case involved extensive CCTV, phone and bad character/gang evidence. Ian's client client was 16 years old at the commission of the offence. 

2021. R v L. 2 week trial before Honorable Recorder of Greenwich. Woolwich Crown Court. 7 Handed murder, retrial for manslaughter. 

The case was originally a 7 handed murder. This case was a retrial for my client alone on Manslaughter. The case involved an attack by one group armed with machetes and swords on another in South London. The case was based extensively on CCTV and phone contact. Ian's client was 17 years old at commission. 

2021. R v O. 2 week trial at Woolwich Crown Court. Child neglect x 3.

The case involved the death of one very young child and the neglect of two others. There was a substantial body of medical, social services and police evidence. Ian's client suffered from a number of vulnerabilities. It was a tragic and highly emotive case for all of those involved. 

2021. R v P. 5 week trial. Inner London Crown Court. Historical sexual assaults 

This was a 44 count indictment case alleging the serious historical sexual assault of 3 sister by their two older brothers. The background related to a dysfunctional home and significant drug taking by many of the main participants. The case involved the cross examination of 3 complainants and complaint witnesses. The defence was that the allegations were fabricated and collusion was put to each complainant. There were medical and counselling records. There was a full cut throat between the two defendants with the co defendant alleging that P sexually assaulted him and forced him to assault their sisters. The trial took place during the Covid19 lockdown. 

2021. R v R (private client). 4 days trial. St Albans Crown Court. Possession with intent to supply class A and class B drugs and possession of criminal propert 

The case involved llegations of possession with intention to supply Class A and B and possession of criminal property. Case based on behaviour on arrest, quantity and diversity of drugs found, large amount of cash, paraphernalia including scales, deal bags, cut bags and baseball bat. The client acquitted on all counts.

2021. R v G. 4 week trial. Winchester Crown Court. Murder, attempted murder and drugs

Ian's 16 year old client was charged with murder, attempted murder by stabbing and being concerned in the supply of cocaine and heroin. It was a trial conducted during lockdown. This was a county lines case where Ian's client travelled from London to Bournemouth to supply drugs for an OCG. It was the crown’s case that whilst dealing he stabbed and killed a user and attempted to kill another. They were his customers. The defence advanced was under S45 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, namely that he had been trafficked and was the victim of modern slavery in relation to the dealing. This was the backdrop to the self defence which was ran in relation to the murder/attempted murder. The client asserted that the users tried to rob him and he acted lawfully throughout. An unusual feature of the case was that we had a positive “conclusive grounds” finding from the NRM which was ultimately admitted as hearsay in line with DPP v M [2020] EWHC 3422 (Admin). The decision was made known to us only days before the trial and this caused a number of very taxing practical issues. The client had learning vulnerabilities and was assisted by an intermediary throughout. He was acquitted on all counts including the drugs. The case was tried before the Honorary Recorder of Winchester. 

2020. R v C. 4 week trial. Manchester Crown Court. Causing/allowing death of a child

The case involved the murder of Ian's client's 12 month old daughter. Ms. C was charged with causing/allowing her daughter’s death. The killer was her boyfriend. The Crown’s case was that she put her relationship with him before her parental responsibilities. During the trial he changed his defence from accident to suggesting that she kicked her daughter to death. This led to us successfully applying to adduce evidence of a previous incident where he was investigated for seriously injuring a baby. The case involved a very significant body of medical material including a host of experts in child pathology. Professor Mangham was one amongst many who gave live evidence. There was also evidence from a wide range of social and childcare services both live and in documentary form.  Ms. C was only 20 years old but was acquitted. He was convicted. He had the benefit of an intermediary throughout and this of course meant that Ian's cross examination of him had to be in line with the relevant toolkits. Other prosecution witnesses also had similar vulnerabilities. The case was tried before Mrs. J Yip the Circuit Presider.

2020. R v O. 2 week trial. Croydon Crown Court. Murder

Ian's client followed, stabbed and killed a stranger during a late night robbery. The deceased had a Gucci man-bag which was said to have caught my client’s attention. Ian's client had convictions for numerous violent and targetted robberies relating to high value items including Rolex watches which formed the backdrop to the case. It was a circumstantial evidence case involving significant CCTV footage. There were substantial bad character applications made by the crown and cross applications made by the defence. The client was a Category A prisoner. This threw up a number of significant difficulties given the trial was conducted during the Pandemic. The case was tried before the Honorary Recorder of Croydon.

2020. R v B. 7 week trial. Isleworth Crown Court. Attempted murder and firearms

Against a background of significant drug dealing Ian's client was the quartermaster charged with storing drugs and a number of firearms and related ammunition. In a separate incident he was responsible for delivering a loaded handgun used to attempt to kill rivals who were in his group's territory. He was present with the shooter throughout the episode. The case was based on CCTV, cell site, eye witness accounts and bad character. There was a cut throat with the first defendant. The client was very young and had a low IQ. There were some special measures.

2020. R v W. 1 week trial. Northampton Crown Court

Causing serious injury by dangerous driving. Ian's client was a lorry driver who was accused of driving dangerously by crossing an unlit A road at night and leaving the tail of his lorry protruding into the outside carriageway. The case involved the calling and challenging of expert witnesses. It was highly charged and had significant consequences both in the criminal jurisdiction and in relation to ongoing proceedings. He was acquitted of all charges.

2020. R v C. Court of Appeal. Appeal against conviction

C was convicted of the stranger rape of X in 2016 and made the subject of a hospital order with restriction. In June 2016 Ian represented S who was also charged with counts alleging stranger rape against X on a later occasion. S was acquitted on all counts.

Following the acquittals, C’s original counsel began the process of appealing his conviction. He subsequently retired from the Bar and Ian was asked to take over the appeal.

Once instructed Ian changed the emphasis of the appeal and ultimately we were granted leave in relation to fresh evidence in the form of witnesses, S41/previous false allegations and other relevant background material. The appeal was successful and a retrial was ordered. Ultimately Ian applied for an order under S8 Criminal Appeals Act 1968 seeking an order of acquittal in relation to all counts which was granted in May 2020.

This was a long, complex, unusual and taxing case. It involved a very steep learning curve but ultimately was one of the most rewarding cases Ian have been involved in at the Bar.

2019. R v M. 7 week trial. St Albans CC. Allegation of serious sexual and physical assaults against a toddler

Ian's client was the baby's mother and the co defendant her boyfriend. This was an out and out cut throat. Ian's client was acquitted of all of the main charges and the co defendant was convicted. There was a very significant body of medical evidence from a vast array of doctors and copious social service records. A number of social workers gave evidence. The crown relied upon odontology and experts were called on all sides concerning both admissibility and on the substantive issues. Heavy reliance was placed upon social media and phone evidence. The client had learning difficulties and was supported by an intermediary. It was a very taxing case with a number of novel issues. We were first on the Indictment. The client received a suspended sentence.

2019. R v U. 3 week trial. CCC. before HHJ Lucraft QC, the Chief Coroner.

This was a retrial. Murder and attempted child destruction. Allegation that the defendant killed his pregnant ex wife with a crossbow. The Crown’s case was that the defendant had planned a revenge attack on his ex wife's family for a number of years. He carried out his plan by arming himself with two crossbows, hiding in the shed and attacking the family when his own children had departed for school. It was asserted that he had taken cable ties to incapacitate his ex wife and her husband with the intention of killing at least them both while their own very young children were in the house. This was a very serious, emotionally charged and sensitive case which attracted significant national press interest and required a deft touch. 

2019. R v C. 9 week trial. CCC. 5 handed murder and attempted murder.

Ian represented the first Defendant on the Indictment and consequently had to deal with the general issues in addition to the more specific. This was a gang based revenge attack which was part of a series of tit-for-tat killings. It related to North London rival gangs. The case was based on CCTV, eye witness accounts and phone evidence. Ian's client was seen on CCTV with two firearms and there was forensic material to support the crown’s case. There was a significant  bad character application both in relation to gang membership and individual criminality. The client was significantly convicted. There was a direct cut throat but also a more subtle vying for the best position as between the others. There were a number of very experienced counsel on all sides and it was a challenging trial. All defendants were very young.

2019. R v A. 4 week retrial before HHJ Goymer. A 2 handed conspiracy to defraud and perverting the course of justice.

This case involved a multi million pound defrauding of the LAA by a firm of solicitors over a 6 year period. Ian's client had a role which held significant responsibility and involved a major breach of trust. He ran the billing department and submitted the fee claims. The case involved an understanding of immigration case files, billing, LAA processes, handwriting and fingerprints. Submissions were made in the first trial about the admissibility of the Home Office database and the ambit of the fraud. The case was set against the convictions in the first trial of the principal and her husband. This changed the dynamic of the second trial. A careful tip-toeing through a potential cut throat with the new co-defendant was the most difficult aspect of the retrial. Ian's client was acquitted.

2019. R v C. 3 week trial. Maidstone CC. murder and attempted murder

Heard before Mrs J Farbey, the crown's case was that in an act of revenge for his wife being unfaithful, the defendant deliberately set light to the former matrimonial home intending to kill both his 12 year old daughter and his mother in law in order to punish his wife. The crown's case was based upon evidence from a Tag expert, eyewitness accounts, CCTV, telephone evidence, social media messages and confessions made over a period of time. There was a background of domestic violence and threats, injunctions and breaches of bail. This was a case where many of the witnesses became very emotional and was highly charged, with family members and friends on different sides, some giving evidence for the crown.

2019. R v M. 7 week trial. CCC. 3 handed murder

A 3 handed murder with an additional, separate allegation of attempted murder being tried at the same time, it having been joined pre trial. The case involved an out and out cut throat between the co defendants. The crown’s allegations were based upon CCTV, ANPR, Cell site, Telephone contact and DNA evidence. There was a very substantial body of bad character and unused material. There was a background of gang rivalry and drugs. There were references to previous gang killings of young men which were said to form the motive for both sets of offences. 

2019. R v R. 6 week trial. Luton CC. 5 handed murder

Revenge attack on a rival drug dealer in his own home. The crown’s case was based on CCTV, cell site, phone contact and descriptions made in difficult circumstances. There were significant issues of bad character and cut throat defences. The Crown called a witness who was awaiting sentence for murder to give evidence of a confession made by one of the defendants which impacted upon them all.

2019. R v X. 3 week trial. CCC before the Recorder of London

Murder and attempted child destruction. Allegation that the defendant killed his pregnant ex wife with a crossbow. The Crown’s case was that the defendant had planned a revenge attack on his ex wife's family for a number of years. He carried out his plan by arming himself with two crossbows, hiding in the shed and attacking the family when his own children had departed for school. It was asserted that he had taken cable ties to incapacitate his ex wife and her husband with the intention of killing at least them both while their own very young children were in the house. This was a very serious, emotionally charged and sensitive case which attracted significant national press interest and required a deft touch. The jury were discharged for legal reasons during their fourth day of deliberations. The retrial is fixed for the end of 2019.

2019: R v DJN. 4 week trial. CCC. Firearms

4 handed possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life and conspiracy to cause GBH with intent. This was a high profile trial which attracted significant national media interest. It involved a "ride out”. The defendants were masked, had surgical gloves, multiple weapons including a firearm, they were in rival gang territory in a stolen vehicle with a full can of petrol in the boot. None of the defendants had phones. Two of the defendants were recognised “drill” artist and this formed the background. There was a police chase during which officers discharged their firearms on numerous occasions. It was a gang case and involved significant anonymous hearsay and bad character material.

2018: R v A. CCC. 8 week trial. Murder

5 handed gang related homicide which involved the car jacking of a BMW which was used to run over the deceased in the street, but who surprisingly got to his feet and ran off despite the high speed impact. He was pursued and stabbed 15 times dying from his injuries. The case involved significant CCTV, phone and cell site material. Our case involved a close analysis of the use of the relevant phone and the identification of numbers not previously contacted. There was expert GAIT analysis which had to be managed as Ian's client had an unusual walking pattern. It was an identification case. There was also a significant body of forensic evidence. The defendants were all very young.

2018: R v M. CCC. Sentence

Silks certificate granted for sentence because the defendant was convicted of the attempted murder of her 6 month old following a trial. The case involved novel submissions designed to invite the court to consider whether the case could be considered analogous to infanticide and/or to pass a sentence significantly outside the guidelines. This was an unusual and very interesting case but one which related to a highly charged and emotional scenario.

2018: R v C. CCC. 

1 week trial. 2 x attempted murder. C attempted to push one complainant into the path of an oncoming train at Tottenham Court Road and pushed a 90 year old male onto the tracks at Marble Arch. It was a case based on CCTV. Significant issues relating to mental health. National press interest.

2018: R v E. 2 week trial. Birmingham CC. Murder

2 weeks. Murder. Allegation that following an argument the defendant deliberately held the deceased to the side of his vehicle and drove off at speed causing fatal head injuries. The case centred on CCTV and the officer's interpretation. It was a very challenging and unusual case.

2018: R v X. 7 week trial. Southwark CC. 3 handed conspiracy to defraud

A 3 handed conspiracy to defraud and perverting the course of justice. This case involved a multi million pound defrauding of the LAA by a firm of solicitors over a 6 year period. Ian's client had a role which held significant responsibility and involved a major breach of trust. He ran the billing department and submitted the fee claims. The case involved an understanding of immigration case files, billing, LAA processes, handwriting and fingerprints. Submissions were made about the admissibility of the Home Office database and the ambit of the fraud. It involved a subtle cut - throat defence with both of the co defendants and the highlighting of the case against a third party named as an alleged co conspirator late in the day by the crown. The client had a hung jury. Co defendants were convicted.

2018: R v G. 10 week trial. CCC. Murder

5 handed gang related murder involving young, category A defendants. Significant issues of bad character, relating to gang association, gang lyrics and other connected material. The case relied heavily upon analysis of CCTV and telephone evidence. There were a number of expert witness reports prepared by all parties to deal with different aspects of the identifications. There was a cut throat element to the case. It was a case which had a number of twists and turns including a co defendant developing a psychosis during Ian's cross examination, leading to him being discharged from the trial.

2018: R v D. 13 week trial. CCC. 4 handed murder

Rival groups from within the Sikh community based in Birmingham and London. Revenge attack which involved swords, clubs and numerous other weapons. There was a very high level of violence involved. The killing was set against a backdrop of a number of incidents of tit-for-tat attacks. A defendant turned QE and entered into a contract with the prosecution to give evidence against his co-defendants and others, including Ian's client who was subsequently charged with murder. The QE witness was in the witness box for over two weeks with substantial cross examination from all parties. The case involved voluminous CCTV, ANPR, phone data and cell site which all required a detailed analysis to enable me to challenge the crown’s case and bolster the defence. There were a number of participants in the killing who were not arrested but contact with phone numbers attributed to them was a real issue which had to be dealt with. There were defence witnesses including an alibi witness. It was a very challenging trial involving aspects of cut-throat and distancing from other defendants. There was a substantial body of forensic evidence. The client was said to have had a separate motive related to infidelity to want to kill the deceased and this required me to challenge a number of additional witnesses on the basis of a substantial body of material relation to crime reports and evidence going back of a number of years. The client was acquitted of murder. Convicted of manslaughter. It was a serious, substantial and unusual case.

2017 - 2018. R v H. 10 week trial. 8 handed conspiracy to murder

Hove Crown Court. 8 handed trial lasting 10 weeks. The first two defendants on the Indictment were “regional level” drug dealers with international links who were in financial difficulties and decided to kill two of their creditors. The client was said to be the hitman. He was arrested with a Tec-9 machine gun and ammunition shortly after a relevant meeting of the parties. This was a multi agency investigation which involved a wide range of evidence including probe, encrypted telephones, ANPR, cell site, phone download, data and contact together with undercover surveillance. There was substantial bad character material and significant submissions were made on abuse of process and disclosure. The client was acquitted on all counts.

2017. R v T. 9 week trial. CCC. murder

The killing of a rival drug dealer by shooting. T was one of three defendants charged with murder but was the only one acquitted of the main offence . He was convicted of manslaughter. Significant bad character issues. It was a CCTV and telephone case. It required very delicate handling as all defendants were young and the defence was presented without the co defendant's cases being in any way challenged or damaged.

2017. R v D. Double death by dangerous driving

week trial. Basildon CC. There were issues of impairment which necessitated cross examination of a crown expert on a significant study he relied upon. There were multiple experts in a variety of fields. The case required a great deal of sensitivity. There were very large groups from the families of both deceased and the defendant. Indeed, the proceedings were simultaneously shown in another court room via video/live link. The case was understandably very highly charged. All sides were extremely emotional.

2017. R v O. 7 day trial

Maidstone CC. 79 year old defendant. Ex school teacher who had sexually assaulted a male and two female pupils when they were between 8 and 11 years old. Complaints were made over 35 years later. Issues of cross admissibility, false memory and delay.

2017. R v G. 4 week trial. St. Albans CC. Murder

Full on cut throat with co defendant. The client was acquitted of murder and convicted of manslaughter. Co-defendant convicted of murder. Drugs related killing.

2017. R v O. 8 day re-trial. Maidstone CC

Conspiracy to supply Class A and witness intimidation. Defendant was in management role within a significant OCG in Kent. This was a telephone case base on cell site, co-locations and contact.

2017: R v S. 2 week trial. Maidstone CC

Foreign National charged with multiple counts of stranger rape. Unusually the complainant had been the victim of a very similar incident in the recent past. Substantial and complex S41 arguments and applications to admit suggestions of previous false allegations. There was a mass of unused material. Ian conducted the case on a silk alone certificate. Complainant was extremely vulnerable and had a number of health issues. The defendant required an interpreter throughout. He was acquitted on all counts. Some of the issues involved in this case were genuinely novel. It was a truly exceptional case.

2017: R v B. 5 week trial before the Recorder of London. CCC

Allegations of Murder and causing/allowing the death of her 16 week old daughter. Cut throat defence with father of the child. The crown relied upon a plethora of leading experts in the following fields: pathology, paediatric pathology, radiology, osteoarticular pathology, neuro pathology, ophthalmic pathology and paediatrics. It was a stellar line up.

This material had to be cross examined. There were substantial issues relating to domestic violence, bad character and disclosure. The case involved significant phone evidence, cell site and CCTV. Ian's client was acquitted of murder. The case attracted national press coverage.

2017: R v O Ltd. 3 week trial. Chelmsford CC. Corporate manslaughter

Corporate Manslaughter and Health and Safety Offences. The case involved a subcontractor falling through a roof to his death. There was substantial cross examination of a Senior Environmental Health Officer, Senior Health and Safety Inspectors, a Chartered Quantity Surveyor, a Structural Engineer and other industry specialists. The defence involved allegations of collusion by some prosecution witnesses and was a cut throat against the subcontracting organisation.

2017: R v D. 2 week trial. Harrow CC. Firearms

Possession of firearms with intent to endanger life and Class A drugs supply. The case was originally linked to an attempted murder. The defence was duress.

2017: R v P. 1 week trial. Maidstone CC. Fraud

Fraud involving employee - breach of trust.

2016: R v W. 2 week trial. Canterbury CC. Rape and sexual assaults

Allegation of multiple rapes and sexual assaults by a defendant with severe learning difficulties on a complainant with significant physical disabilities and severe learning difficulties. Both had intermediaries. He had an intermediary throughout the proceedings. There was a complicated S41 application. The case required the preparation of an appropriately framed list of cross examination questions in line with the advocacy gateway, CPR and current case law. The document was approved by the court and intermediaries without correction. Cross examination was conducted without interruption. The defendant was acquitted on 4 of the 5 counts. There was a difficult sentencing exercise which required a deft touch. A determinate sentence was passed.

2016: R v Nibbs. 2 week trial. CCC. Murder

Husband beheading wife. Extensive legal submissions relating to loss of control. Significant cross examination of pathologist

2016: R v H. 5 week trial. CCC. Murder

Attempted murder by shooting. Hung jury.

2016: R v B. 1 week trial. Maidstone CC. Rape

Allegations of historical sexual assaults and rape. Acquitted.

2016: R v Jacobs. 3 week trial. Inner London CC. Murder

Murder by arson.

2016: R v P. Sexual assault of children by a child

Woolwich CC. Successful submission of doli incapax at the conclusion of the prosecution case.

2016: R v Crosbie. 2 week trial. Cambridge CC. Murder (stabbing)

Significant issues of bad character - both defendant and non defendant.

2016: R v M. 3 week trial. Maidstone CC

Allegations of historical child rape by a child on a child. The case involved significant abuse of process arguments and required an extremely skilled and deft approach as it included allegations against the client’s father and the death of the complainants father in related proceedings. Hung Jury. Crown offered no evidence.

2016: R v Azadbakht. 5 week trial. Woolwich CC. Murder (stabbing)

The case involved a multiplicity of complex issues including a dying declaration, hostile witnesses, the waiver of privilege in the context of a cut throat defence and numerous bad character applications with cross applications. In total there were well in excess of 30 separate documents uploaded onto the applications section of the DCS.

2016: R v D. 2 week trial. Maidstone CC. Sexual offences

Allegations of assault by penetration and sexual assault. Both the victim and the defendant were vulnerable. Acquitted of the main count.

2016: R v J. Snaresbrook CC. Causing death by dangerous driving

The defendant was unfit to plead as a consequence of the injuries she sustained in the collision. It involved a fitness to plead hearing and a jury trial on the issue of whether the defendant did the act. The case had experts from a number of disciplines and required the presentation of a defence case without instructions when the incident had been caught on CCTV. "The Defendant was Absolutely Discharged"

2016: R v M. 1 week trial. Maidstone CC. Conspiracy to supply

Following on from a 9 handed 11 week trial for conspiracy to supply class A in 2015 (see below) involving millions of pounds of drugs where the defendant was the only one not convicted because the jury were hung; at his retrial he was acquitted on all counts. Case involved over 29,000 pages of evidence. Top end drugs conspiracy.

R v Bartholomew. 7 week trial. Hove CC. leading on a multi handed murder as a junior

Acquitted on all counts. All other leading counsel whose clients were charged with murder and the crown were silks.

R v Gelezinis. 12 week trial. Maidstone CC. 4 handed murder

Acquitted on all counts. He conducted the case without a junior. All other defence teams and the crown were represented by silk and junior.

R v H. 7 week trial. Woolwich CC. Multi handed conspiracy

Multi handed conspiracy to pervert the course of justice involving the discharging of firearms and a hand grenade. He appeared for the main defendant.

R v Van Doesburg. 4 week trial. Leeds CC

£16 million importation of cocaine. Leading. Acquitted.

R v M. 11 week trial. Maidstone CC. 9 handed drugs importation

9 handed, multi million pound importations and supply class A – hung jury. M was the only defendant charged with drugs not to be convicted.

R v D. 5 week trial. Wood Green CC. multi handed gang rape

Multi handed gang rape of a 14 year old girl. Acquitted.

R v M. 7 week trial. Snaresbrook CC. Rape

leading – two handed multiple rapes and sexual assaults involving young boys. He appeared for the main defendant.

R v F. 3 week trial. Croydon CC. Sexual offences

Allegations of serious sexual assaults including rape perpetrated against 3 young women involving the use of an animal. Acquitted


  • City of London Polytechnic. LLB Hons (Business Law).
  • Inns of Court – Bar Course.

Other Information

Ian is an Advocacy Trainer with Inner Temple.

In addition to his practice Ian is heavily involved in the running of chambers and has responsibility for the finances. He is also one of the Equality and Diversity Officers. He is a family man who still enjoys playing football and tennis.


‘Ian is a special kind of barrister. Although he is both learned in the law and a compelling advocate, he has no airs and graces. Juries can tell that he is at heart one of them and as a result, he gets them on his side.’

Legal 500 2024 edition

Ian Henderson KC is a criminal defence specialist who boasts a formidable repertoire of the most serious cases. His experience includes brutal murders (including those of children) as well as cases involving allegations of rape and conspiracy to supply drugs.

"He has a great manner and is a barrister who is very assured and has sound judgement."

"Mr Henderson is a brilliant tactician and advocate."

Chambers and Partners 2024 edition

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Congratulations to all members ranked and recognised in the Chambers and Partners Directory 2024 edition

November 22 2023

Barristers at Farringdon Chambers have experience of serious crime cases, including those relating to homicide, firearms and drugs offences, among...

Farringdon Chambers and thirteen of our members are ranked in Legal 500 edn 2024

October 05 2023

We are proud to announce that Farringdon Chambers and thirteen of our barristers have been ranked across the Crime and Fraud...

Farringdon Chambers and six of its members are ranked in Chambers and Partners edn. 2023

October 20 2022

Farringdon Chambers is once again proud to announce that our chambers and six of our members have been ranked in Crime...

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