He's bonkers, says judge whose QC lover, 76, left her for 25-year-old blondeAnthony Arlidge, left his partner barrister Constance Briscoe for Heather Lockwood, 25Miss Briscoe, 55, has decided to go public despite saying she is over split
00:44 GMT, 13 August 2012
The clerks of the Inns of Court can't help but be arrested by the sight of Anthony Arlidge, 76-year-old QC, whenever he appears on the arm of his much younger girlfriend Heather Lockwood.
Mr Arlidge, silver-haired and bespectacled, makes no attempt to appear younger, while his girlfriend, with her long blonde hair and fresh-faced features, never tries to look older.
In short, there is no doubting the 50-year age gap.
Barrister Anthony Arlidge QC, 76, pictured hugging and kissing blonde paralegal Heather Lockwood, 27. He has stunned Britain's best known black judge, Constance Briscoe QC, 55, by dumping her after living with her for 12 years in favour of aspiring barrister Lockwood, who is nearly five decades his junior
Mr Arlidge and Miss Lockwood have been conducting their relationship discreetly within the genteel environs of London's Inns of Court for nearly two years.
And they may have continued doing so in such a fashion had it not been for Mr Arlidge's former partner Constance Briscoe who clearly had other ideas.
Constance Briscoe, a leading barrister and judge herself, is well-known as the author of the acclaimed 'misery memoir' Ugly, which charted in agonising detail her difficult childhood. She later explained that writing the book was hugely therapeutic — that she found it cathartic to get everything out in the open.
So perhaps it was to be expected that, sooner or later, Miss Briscoe would feel compelled to share her thoughts with the world after Mr Arlidge chose to leave her for a woman who was then 25 and is now just 27.
Now, nearly two years after the split, Miss Briscoe has chosen to go public, although she insists she's over it.
Constance Briscoe, a leading barrister
and judge herself, is well-known as the author of the acclaimed 'misery
But then, as Her Honour Judge Briscoe well knows, revenge is a dish best served cold.
'He's not having a midlife crisis,' Miss Briscoe, 55, said at the weekend. 'He's not having a late crisis. This is a late, late, late crisis.
'Of course, I was terribly upset. I'd been with him a long time, but I think men get to a certain age where they press the bonkers button.'
'Kaboom!' she added, by way of emphasis.
The news of the split was broken by
Richard Kay's Diary in last Tuesday's Mail, and on Thursday the 'other
woman', Miss Lockwood, was identified on a gossip website for lawyers
Miss Lockwood is living with Mr Arlidge at his flat close to his
chambers in the Middle Temple and a short walk away from the law firm
where Miss Lockwood works as a paralegal (assisting lawyers in their
work). Miss Briscoe, meanwhile, remains at her house in Clapham, South
She and Mr Arlidge
met in a caf at the Old Bailey in 2000. Miss Briscoe had taken a law
degree at Newcastle University before being called to the Bar in 1983.
She became a part-time judge in 1986. She had two children from a
previous relationship with Adam Wilson, a lawyer.
double-first graduate Mr Arlidge had established a reputation as one of
the most brilliant minds of his generation, and a much-respected
barrister and judge.
time, the father-of-four was long separated from his wife Enid and had
recently split from Tracy Ayling, a fellow barrister with whom he had
been living for 16 years.
Arlidge was apparently looking 'a bit down', so the eccentric Miss
Briscoe gave him some blue 'power beads' to improve his mood.
Afterwards, he invited her to his house to look at his herbaceous
'I didn't know a
lot about what he was about, so I did some research, rang up some of my
friends and they all said the same thing — keep away from him,' she
predictably, the strong-willed Miss Briscoe did not heed their advice.
Soon the pair were an item. Then, six years ago, she became a household
name with the publication of Ugly, a memoir about her grim childhood in
Kennington, South London, in which she claims she was beaten regularly
by her mother Carmen Briscoe-Mitchell.
Mrs Briscoe-Mitchell disputed the claims and sued for libel, but lost her case.
Briscoe was devoted to Mr Arlidge, and before the split the pair had
bought a place in Toulouse in France, 'a sort of medieval Bastille-type
of property', in preparation for his retirement. As she pointed out at
the time: 'Tony was getting on a bit, and he does need someone to be
around him. We had to be in a hamlet, we had to be near a hospital, a
But it was not long
after Miss Briscoe had thoughtfully made these plans for Mr Arlidge's
impending old age that she discovered he was infatuated with a
It was late 2010 and Miss Briscoe and Mr Arlidge were on their way to her daughter's birthday party.
Taking the initiative: According to Miss Briscoe, Mr Arlidge, pictured, and
Miss Lockwood were being rather low-key about their relationship, so
she decided not long afterwards to tell people on their behalf
wasn't quite right,' she recalled in an interview this weekend. 'He
said: “I've got something to tell you.” He told me he'd met this new
lady. He said: “I've met her and I want to have an affair.”
'So I said: “All right, Tony, I'll tell you what. If you love her more than me, I'll stand aside.”
'He said: “That's very decent of you.” '
On that note, Mr Arlidge departed, but Miss Briscoe went to see him the following day at his flat at the Temple in London.
'I said: “Actually, I don't think I am prepared to stand aside.” He said: “But I think I've fallen in love.”
'I said: “You want to have this affair Go and have your affair, and when you've got it out of your system, come back.”
I strongly believe if you've got a good relationship, an affair should
not necessarily bring about the end of it. I was trying to find a
sensible, adult solution.'
She was stunned by his response: 'But Heather wouldn't like that.'
Miss Briscoe recalled: 'He said: “She got me when I was vulnerable.”'
Mr Arlidge and Miss Lockwood have been
conducting their relationship discreetly within the genteel environs of
London's Inns of Court for nearly two years
This conversation marked the end of the ten-year union between Miss Briscoe and Mr Arlidge.
Miss Lockwood, believed to be originally from Sunderland, is thought to have been educated at Newcastle Grammar School before going to Oxford University.
When she met Mr Arlidge, she had been recently called to the Bar and was looking for a pupillage, a training contract with a set of chambers which is the final stage of a barrister's training. She is still seeking a pupillage today.
It seems she and Mr Arlidge met at a dinner at Middle Temple, one of the four Inns of Court. Mr Arlidge had been master of entertainments at Middle Temple for many years.
'Tony likes the fun of Middle Temple,' said Miss Briscoe. 'Young students were always throwing themselves at him.
'I've been at a dinner and it's been: “Oh, Mr Arlidge. Oh, Master Arlidge. Master! Master! Master!” All that malarkey.'
After the split, Miss Briscoe couldn't stop herself asking Mr Arlidge how old his new girlfriend was. 'Tony had said, to be fair to him: “Constance, she's much younger than you.”
'I was thinking, she can't be that much younger because you're 20 years older than me.
'I have to say that people of all ages would find him attractive. He's witty, he's clever, he's intelligent, he's very generous, he's warm-hearted. Those are good qualities he still has, despite being bonkers.'
'He told me her age when I asked. If I hadn't been sitting down I'm sure I would have fallen over. I was more than upset.'
According to Miss Briscoe, Mr Arlidge and Miss Lockwood were being rather low-key about their relationship, so she decided not long afterwards to tell people on their behalf. 'Tony hadn't told anyone. Not a soul. So I got on the phone, went straight through my diary and told those people I knew were the biggest gossips.
'He had to deal with it. He said: “I don't think I'm going to come out of this well.” '
One might imagine that learning the age of her former partner's girlfriend would be a particularly bitter sting, but Miss Briscoe says, paradoxically, it has made it easier to bear.
It's so ridiculous that she can't take it too seriously.
'In a very odd way, if Tony had chosen to run off with someone who was 40, 50, 60, 70 or even 80, I would have been devastated.
'But I had to temper the fact he had chosen someone who was a few years older than my son. This was not someone I could even for half a second think about with any malice. I could be her mother.'
Curiously, Miss Briscoe hints that it may not be Miss Lockwood who is to blame entirely for the breakdown of her relationship with Mr Arlidge, but another woman — Enid, his estranged wife of 30 years.
Understandably unhappy about the fact he was still married, Miss Briscoe had, during their relationship, been urging him to finally get divorced from his wife.
'I did say to him: “You've been separated for God knows how long, you need to get divorced.” '
Mr Arlidge, as far as we know, remains married to Enid — and now he is with Miss Lockwood.
But despite her decision to bring the break-up into the public eye, Miss Briscoe insists she has now moved forward in her life.
She recently sent an email to Mr Arlidge in which she wrote movingly about the pain she has gone through. 'You mention your irritation — that is fine, but I am sure you have no idea how your treatment of me crushed my soul and broke my heart. It is not something that you recover from overnight. And, yes, I was incapacitated for a while, but time is a great healer.
'I loved you unconditionally for the best part of 11 years. I wanted nothing from you but your love, affection and company. You took my love — crushed it up and then threw it in my face.'
AT the end of the email, she talks about her recovery. 'I have no bitterness in my heart and the pain has now gone and I am happier than I have ever been. If you are ever ill, if you are on your own, if you are just sad and lonely, call me, I will always be there for you.'
In some ways, the split seems to have rejuvenated Miss Briscoe. She looks very glamorous and youthful. Asked if she has had plastic surgery following the split, she says: 'I have had some, but I won't tell you what.'
She is writing a crime novel and looking at the possibility of finding some work in television.
And what of Mr Arlidge and Miss Lockwood Last week he confirmed: 'We are living together. We share a love of sports. I am taking her to the Olympics to see the football and athletics.' He added: 'I have met her mother, and she says that if Heather is happy, so is she.'
Constance Briscoe will no doubt be watching with interest to see what the future holds for Mr Arlidge and Miss Lockwood. As, for sure, will their friends and colleagues at the Inns of Court.