Tony Bishop’s career saw him cover some of the 20th century’s most notorious court cases – including the trial of ‘Black Panther’ Donald Neilson and the ‘Monster of Worcester’ David McGreavy, who impaled the bodies of three young children he had been babysitting on railings.
Tony, pictured above left, was also the first provincial reporter to visit Afghanistan after the Russians invaded in 1980, and was shot at by the IRA while billeted with the British Army in the Northern Ireland in the 1960s.
Working for the Express & Star, Wolverhampton, and the Worcester News among other titles, he covered cases at Worcester Crown Court for 48 years, and was honoured with a valedictory service there on his last day of work led by Judge Andrew Lockhart QC.
Tony and his wife, Sheila – who recently celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary – were guests of honour in the court room packed with barristers, Crown Prosecution Service lawyers, ushers, clerks, security staff and probation officers
Judge Lockhart described Tony as “one of the most highly respected men ever to have trod the boards in courts of this land”.
He added: “Such has been his contribution to the life of this court and so many others that this should in my view be an event marked not only here but countrywide.
“It is a well hackneyed phrase that justice must not only be done but it must be seen to be done. And who better to have been amongst us upholding those values than Mr Tony Bishop?”
Born in Bewdley, Worcestershire, Tony’s journalism career began on the Kidderminster Shuttle in 1951, later becoming chief district reporter for the Express & Star.
After retiring from the Wolverhampton paper, he continued court reporting on a freelance basis for the Worcester News.
His daughter Naomi is a BBC producer, while son Chris is editor of Forbes Magazine in Africa.
Paying tribute, Judge Lockhart concluded: “He can now enjoy reading rather than writing the headlines content in the knowledge that his work has been done so very well.”
Tony said later: “The Shirehall, where Worcester Crown Court is based, has been like a second home. Reporters once had to send copy by a public phone in the main hall.
“When the building was re-modelled in the 1990s I managed to get a press room allocated. I later learned it had been a place of work for a lowly clerk on the County Archivist’s staff – her name was Stella Rimington, later to become head of MI5.”
He added: “The welcome from the staff at the valedictory was brilliant and quite eye-watering.”