Leading Scots lawyer Paul McBride QC found dead

Paul McBride QC
Image caption Paul McBride was one of Scotland's most high-profile lawyers

The leading Scottish lawyer and QC Paul McBride has died suddenly while on a visit to Pakistan.

He was reported to have died in his sleep in a hotel room. He was 47.

Mr McBride had a high public profile. Two men are currently on trial in Glasgow accused of sending suspected parcel bombs to Mr McBride and other leading supporters of Celtic football club.

He was a board member of the Scottish Legal Aid Board.

It is understood that Mr McBride was in Pakistan on business.

Supt Faisal Gulzar of Lahore police said: "We got the call at around 2.30-3pm. Mr McBride was found dead in a room of the Pearl Continental in Lahore.

"At this stage we think he died of natural causes and do not suspect any foul play. We have checked CCTV footage from the hotel and carried out initial investigations.

"A post-mortem will take place. We will wait for the results before taking further action."

Another leading Scottish lawyer, Aamer Anwar, who was in Pakistan with Mr McBride, told BBC Scotland he had become concerned about Mr McBride after failing to reach him on the phone after several attempts.

Mr Anwar said Mr McBride had been feeling unwell and he persuaded hotel security to break into the QC's room to check if he was all right.

Mr Anwar added: "Security came into the room with me - I thought he was asleep."

Officials in Pakistan have told the BBC they believe Mr McBride may have died as a result of a heart condition.

A statement issued by Jack Irvine on behalf of Mr McBride's family said: "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.

"There will be no further statement in the meantime."

Mr McBride was appointed a QC at the age of 35, said to be the youngest QC ever appointed in the UK.

He was called to the Scottish Bar in 1988 and has been involved in many high profile criminal cases in Scotland.

Mr Irvine added: "I understand Paul was found dead in bed this morning. He had been in Pakistan for a few days and I am uncertain when he was to return to Scotland.

"The family have asked that they are not troubled at this distressing time."

Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland and Solicitor General Lesley Thomson said in a statement: "We are very saddened by the awful news that Paul has died in his sleep overnight in Pakistan.

"This is devastating news for his partner Gary, family and his friends. We offer our sincere and deepest sympathies to them."

Brian McConnachie QC, Vice-Chair of the Faculty of Advocates Criminal Bar Association, said: "Everyone is absolutely stunned and deeply saddened by his death.

"Paul was very young and had achieved a tremendous amount in such a short space of time and undoubtedly had a great deal more to achieve both legally and no doubt in other fields."

Mr McBride is a former member of Labour and the Scottish Conservatives.

He left the Scottish Conservatives last June after Ruth Davidson was elected to lead the party north of the border.

First Minister Alex Salmond paid the following tribute: "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."

Celtic Chief Executive Peter Lawwell issued a statement on behalf of the club.

He said: "This is tragic news. Paul was a very good friend of Celtic and someone who cared passionately about the club. His passing is clearly a great loss and he will be sadly missed.

"The thoughts and prayers of everyone at Celtic are with Paul's family at this very difficult time."