Crime Department

Crime Department


James Watson
Managing Partner

I was educated at St Mary's College, Middlesbrough, Newcastle University and Guildford College of Law. I was articled with Punch Robson Solicitors and became a partner in 1984. Then, I left to found Watson Woodhouse in 1988, initially as a specialised criminal law practice.

For the last 30 years I have been involved in a string of high profile and controversial acquittals. Now, I specialise in white collar and cyber fraud cases, and am leading the expansion of Watson Woodhouse into a nationwide presence. Watson Woodhouse has grown into a substantial multi-category practice with thriving Family, Civil and Conveyancing departments.

We are also committed to providing our clients with a broad range of specialist services including Housing and Mental Health. Despite our growth we are still a family firm with client service as our priority. We recruit the best lawyers who are all dedicated to getting the best results for the people they represent.


Nick Woodhouse

The cases I work on are always dealt with thoroughness and enthusiasm, whatever the allegation is. I always seek to make myself available to talk to my clients. I attend for interviews at Police Stations in Cleveland, Durham and North Yorkshire. In addition, I have Higher Rights to represent clients at the Crown Court and have been Accredited to the Mental Health Solicitors Panel.

Away from work I still enjoy playing football and running (10k and half marathon races) as well as following Middlesbrough FC!


Sean Grainger
Partner / Head of Crown Court department

I joined the firm in 1994 as a trainee solicitor and I am now the Partner in charge of the Crown Court department. My early career was spent in the Magistrates’ Court and then Head of the Crown Court department’. I was the first solicitor in Teesside to qualify as a solicitor advocate and have represented clients at trial, sentence and in the Court of Appeal.

I have extensive experience of dealing with complex drugs and fraud cases. I have been in involved in a number of Very High Cost Cases (VHCC) and was instrumental in obtaining VHCC panel membership for the firm.

I was the first person with in the firm to represent members of the armed forces in the UK, Germany and Cyprus. The firm now has a number of solicitor/solicitor advocates and barristers who represent members of the armed forces on a national and international basis.


Neil Douglas
Partner / COLP / Head of Magistrates’ Court department

I qualified in 1988 and have been at Watson Woodhouse since 1992 , specialising in criminal law primarily in Magistrates’ Court. I particularly enjoy trials where strong competitive instincts can prove useful!

In my spare time I enjoy a range of sports; particularly football and now my playing days are well and truly over - running, competing over a range of distances.


Peter Kilgour

In-house advocate, called to the bar in 1984 and employed at Watson Woodhouse since 2007.

I deal with Criminal Law; Family Law; Prison Law, and Personal Injury cases. I appear regularly in the Crown Court, County Court, and before Parole Boards and in Courts Martial. I have also appeared in the Court of Appeal, the Administrative Court and the High court.

I am an accredited Pupil Supervisor and have helped in the training of a number of barristers who are members of the local Bar.


Robert Mochrie
Fire Arms Advocate

I am a practising Barrister who originally commenced employment as a trainee solicitor at Watson Woodhouse solicitors in 2004. After qualifying in 2006, I soon acquired a formidable reputation as a trial advocate and began conducting jury trials before the Crown Courts in 2007. Since that time, I have conducted over 350 effective jury trials, including complicated proceeding involving offences of Murder, Rape, Drug Supply and Serious Assault.

I have an notably high acquittal rate, having secured acquittals in 90% of trials during 2015 and in 100% of trials to date in 2016.


Dave Dedman

I first began working in the Criminal Justice System in 1986 and joined Watson Woodhouse in 1992. While studying for my law degree I worked as a police station adviser and a litigator in the Crown Court. I qualified as a solicitor in 1998 and have worked exclusively as a criminal defence solicitor throughout my career working on a wide variety of cases from Road Traffic Offences to the most serious crimes such as murder, robbery and rape.

Whilst I mainly spend my time representing clients in the Magistrates’ Court I am also a police station and court duty solicitor. I also have the Higher Right of Audience qualification which allows me to appear as an advocate in the Crown Court.

I understand that clients who need the advice of a criminal defence solicitor are often going through an extremely stressful experience with some whose liberty can be at risk. I feel it is particularly important to provide the highest quality advice and service: tailoring my client care to each individual client. I have worked with clients from many different backgrounds and ages and represent clients in the youth court as well as the adult courts.

Whilst I enjoy all aspects of my job and have significant experience I specialise in Road Traffic Law. I understand how frustrating and worrying it can be to be accused of a driving offence you believe you have not committed or face losing your driving licence. I have successfully defended many people in trials and argued that others should not lose their licences.


Graham Silvester

I trained with Russell-Cooke in London and qualified as a solicitor in 1976. I subsequently practised in a partnership in Stockton on Tees and then as a sole practitioner from 1980 to 1998.

I was then appointed deputy District judge in 1993 until 1997. In 2003, I qualified as Higher Courts Advocate. From 2006, I was the acting head of the Public Defender Service in Middlesbrough until 2008.

I have dealt with many cases in the Crown Court, trials include: attempted murder, grievous bodily harm and other assaults. Additionally, serious drug offences, fraud and dishonesty.

Stephen Andrews

I am a Senior Solicitor with more than twenty years’ experience (I qualified in 1996) and I deal exclusively with criminal matters. I joined Watson Woodhouse in 2016 and am based in our Darlington office covering a wide geographical area across Durham, North Yorkshire and Teesside.

I am a Court and Police station duty solicitor and have higher rights of audience which entitles me to represent clients appearing before the Crown Court. I have represented a number of high profile clients and have appeared before ,and successfully conducted appeal cases in the Court of Appeal in London.

I live in Richmond with Sarah and my two sons. I am the Chairman of Richmond Town Football Club. I enjoy playing football and am a life-long Manchester City fan. I also enjoy live music, travel, cooking and good wine.

Related press articles on cases he was involved in are:


Eric Watson

I defend those who have been falsely accused of crime. I believe the best results are obtained when advice is sought early. If you believe you may be accused of a crime, don’t wait for the police to come knocking. Speak with me and I will endeavour to arrange a voluntary interview at a convenient time for you.

I have spent almost 10 years working in the criminal justice sector and began my career as a defence lawyer in 2011. I am a solicitor who is also qualified to represent clients in the Crown Court. I regularly appear at Crown Courts and have gained a reputation as an effective trial advocate. I have an interest in military law and represent servicemen and women at Court Martial centres across the country and at Military Police Stations in Cyprus and Gibraltar. Having gained experience in a broad range of practice areas, I also provide training to those seeking to gain a police station accreditation.

I have experienced the effects of police corruption first hand and as a result of this have a unique insight into the stress and concern that those affected by these situations are subject to. I am always keen to represent those who have been falsely accused or otherwise mistreated by police officers.

To properly defend a case it is vital that effective communication is maintained between client and solicitor. All of my clients have my email address. I am selective about the cases I take on to ensure that each client is given the attention that their case deserves. I specialise in unpicking complex webs of prosecution evidence and return good results in difficult cases. To form an effective defence, nothing can be left to chance.


Stephanie Thompson

I am a highly motivated Solicitor who deals exclusively with criminal matters.

I completed my BA (Hons) Exempting Degree at Northumbria University, graduating in July 2009.

I began my career as a Paralegal with Freeman Johnson Solicitors in September 2009 and commenced my training with them in 2011. I qualified as a solicitor in July 2013.

I have been an Accredited Police Station Representative since October 2011 and have provided advice and assistance in the police station for offences including fraud, rape and murder.

I represent clients at the Magistrates’ Court and advises on all aspects of criminal defence work.

I have been a Court Duty Solicitor since 2014.


Lisa Carney
Legal Executive

I have worked for Watson Woodhouse now for over 18 years.

Starting out as a cleaner for the firm in 1998, I am proud to say that I now practise in the Magistrates’ Court. Thankfully the partners heard about my ambition and supported me through my education via ILEx so that, after years of hard work and study, I have achieved my long term goal. I act in the Magistrates’ Court, primarily Teesside. I represent clients on an almost daily basis including contested trials.

After submitting 20 cases and successfully passing an advocacy exam I have recently been accepted as a duty solicitor

During my years here I have also become an expert in Prison Law, achieving supervisory status. I have represented serving prisoners for ten years at adjudications and at lifer hearings.

I believe that I bring an enthusiasm and experience of life to my job that is invaluable in my role; defending people who are often vulnerable and may not have had the opportunities that I was lucky enough to have been given. I also like to let people know that, through hard work and determination, you can achieve anything.


Joe Watson

I was educated at St Mary's College Middlesbrough, Newcastle University, and took my LPC at Northumbria University. I qualified as a solicitor in October 2016.

I have been brought up in the family business. I understand my home town. I have known since childhood most of the local businessmen, solicitors and barristers, some of whom now form part of the regional judiciary.

I specialise in criminal law. I have observed major criminal cases at close quarters for over 5 years. I have been given the remit to modernise the firm to adapt to, and excel , in the new digital market place.

My current case load involves trials across England, but I always seek to prioritise local cases, no matter how small they may seem to be.
I have been brought up to understand that the most important case to everyone is their own. I approach everyone's case in that way. If you would like to contact me on " "
I will be happy to engage with you in person.


Craig Bartram

I joined Watson Woodhouse in October 2016, and currently represent clients in the Magistrates’ Court and the Police Station. As a fully accredited Police Station Representative, I have experience of advising persons on some of the most serious offences of Murder, Rape and Drug conspiracies.

I studied Law at Teesside University and completed my Legal Practice Course at the College of Law in York, qualifying as a Solicitor in 2015 after completing my training contract at a local firm.

I worked in the Civil department in my previous firm, successfully bringing civil claims against Cleveland Police, North Yorkshire and Durham Constabulary. Representing the interests of clients in relation to complaints to various police forces’ professional standards department as well as the IPCC.


Sarah Turner
Legal Executive

I have worked for Watson Woodhouse Solicitors since 1995, primarily in the criminal law department. I was admitted as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives in 2002.

I specialise in criminal law, including serious crime, Crown Court proceedings and Proceeds of Crime Act proceedings, throughout various jurisdictions. I have expertise in complex applications for legal aid. I regularly liaise with Junior and Queens Counsel throughout the country. I have vast experience of complex criminal law including murder, multi handed drugs conspiracies and high value fraud which has assisted me in building up a large network of contacts and experts in various scientific fields.

Joanne Grainger
Police Station representative

I joined the firm in 1994 and have worked extensively in Criminal Law. I am experienced in Prison Law and have dealt with parole hearings, adjudications and sentence review hearings. In 2005 I qualified as an Accredited Police Station representative. I have vast experience in defending suspects at the police station who have been arrested for offences ranging from criminal damage to the more serious offences of rape and murder.


Kayleigh Hellens

I joined Watson Woodhouse in November 2015. Specialising in Criminal defence, I am a duty solicitor who conducts trials in the Magistrates Court and provide representation at the police station on a wide range of offences including theft, possession of drugs, robbery, sex offences, domestic abuse and fraud.

Victoria Molloy

Heading up both our Berwick Hills and Stockton offices, Victoria qualified in 2004. Duty Solicitor and Higher Courts Advocate she joined the firm in April this year after establishing an excellent reputation in West Yorkshire. Highly regarded as a successful and formidable Trial Lawyer, reputation for combining extensive preparation and forensic skills with courageous and very successful advocacy skills. Previous experience includes working in Trading Standards prosecutions, serious fraud matters and Health and Safety Executive Prosecutions. Specialist in representing vulnerable defendants, Victoria is a qualified Law Society facilitator for the Vulnerable Witnesses Advocacy Programme. A great lover of the countryside and all things rural. Fine wine and food are high on her list of non-working priorities.