British barrister found dead in Pakistan

  • @AndrewBuncombe

A leading British barrister has been found dead in a hotel room in Pakistan, his family has revealed. Relatives of Paul McBride QC, said the 48-year-old had died in his sleep in the city of Lahore, where he was on a trip with a fellow human rights lawyer.

“Paul died in his sleep last night in a hotel in Pakistan and at this time we would ask you to respect the privacy of his family,” his family said in a statement.

One of Scotland’s most high profile barristers, Mr McBride became a QC at the age of just 35 - a record – and featured in a number of major cases. He also represented Celtic Football Club. At the time of his death, the trial was underway in Glasgow of two men accused of sending suspected parcel bombs to Mr McBride and other leading supporters of the team.

Reports said that Mr McBride, who was in Pakistan, was travelling with fellow lawyer Aamer Anwar, and had attended the wedding of one of Mr Anwar’s relatives. The Foreign Office said they could confirm the death of a British national and that officials were providing consular assistance.

Mr Anwar told STV: “The last couple of days he complained about being unwell and had gone to bed early ... and after the wedding he left early. He was moaning about feeling unwell and said he was going to go back to his room. Then I tried to phone him last night and thought he’d gone to his bed. This morning I tried to check on him several times…then I got worried.”

Mr McBride had been a member of both the Labour and Conservative parties. He left the Scottish Conservatives last June after Ruth Davidson was elected to lead the party. At the time, he described the party as “dysfunctional morons”.

Last night, tributes poured in from the world of politics and the legal profession. Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said in a statement: “This is sad and shocking news. Paul McBride was an outstanding advocate, and a very substantial public figure in Scotland. Paul’s genius lay not just in applying his first-class mind to the complex procedures of Scots Law, but also his unrivalled ability to explain and promote the laws of Scotland to a wider public.”

Police in Lahore told The Independent last night that an investigation was underway but that initial inquiries seemed to suggest Mr McBride had died of natural causes. He had been staying in a room on the seventh floor of the Pear Continental hotel.