Essex

Chelmsford Crown Court judge pens children's book

Judge Charles Gratwicke
Image caption Judge Charles Gratwicke wrote the book over nine years alongside his legal work

A judge who has presided over hundreds of criminal cases has swapped the courtroom for children's fiction.

Judge Charles Gratwicke, who has been based at Chelmsford Crown Court since 2003, spent nine years writing his novel in between his judicial work.

Sawson's Quest tells the adventures of a pauper who goes to sea.

Judge Gratwicke, 67, who wrote the book by hand and "two-finger typing", said the book was "not at all about law", and had been a way to relax.

"It is something I have always wanted to do," he said. "I had made starts on a couple of novels when I was on the Bar, but it was only in the last 10 years that I thought I would like to write a book."

Image copyright Olympia Publishers
Image caption Sawson's Quest tells the tale of Edward Sawson, a pauper who goes to sea

The book, which was partly inspired by Treasure Island and a love of London, sees its main character Edward Sawson shipwrecked, captured by pirates and sold into slavery before eventually making his way back to England.

While Recorder of Chelmsford, Judge Gratwicke has presided over cases such as Bradley Blundell who was jailed for shooting John Pordage at a petrol station.

"It is not an escape as such but something a bit different for me," he said.

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