Tributes have been paid to a popular Birmingham judge who has died from cancer.

Court five of the city's crown court was packed with barristers, solicitors and court staff as Judge John Saunders, QC, the Recorder of Birmingham, described Judge Derek Stanley as the "perfect gentleman."

He said he had died at the age of 59 from a short but devastating illness.

A barrister for 15 years and a judge sitting in Birmingham for 12 years, Judge Stanley joined No. 3 Fountain Court Chambers in 1969. Judge Saunders said: "He was hard working, conscientious, humane and above all else totally fair.

"He worked tirelessly to ensure that the standards of the court did not drop.

"He was known to the Bar as Mr Derek because he was a perfect gentleman as he continued to be as a judge."

The judge went on: "He was always prepared to laugh at himself but seldom laughed at anyone else. This place will never be the same."

Barrister David Jones, who started in the same Chambers with Judge Stanley, said he had a "delicious and impish" sense of humour, while Malcolm Fowler, of the Law Society, said: "The criminal justice system and by extension the community owe Derek Stanley a huge debt for all that he did."