Tributes have been paid to a long-serving Judge who has died suddenly at his home in the West Country.

Judge Timothy Rose presided over many high profile cases in Devon and Somerset and was one of the three main judges at Exeter Crown Court for the past four years.

He had just moved on to be based at Taunton and Winchester Crown Courts but had been sitting at Exeter on Friday before passing away at home over the weekend.

Fellow Judges at Plymouth and Taunton Crown Courts paid tributes to him before the start of their cases today and a ceremony will be held at Exeter Crown Court on Friday to honour his memory.

He was a popular judge at all the court centres where he sat and was noted for his politeness to advocates, juries and defendants as well as a formidable attention to detail.

Judge Rose presided over cases from all over the region including sexual offences, drug dealing, and people smuggling.

One of the last cases he heard at Exeter involved two teenaged boys who ran County Lines drug operations when they were aged just 15 and 16. Both were awaiting sentence, which will now have to be taken over by another judge.

After a major trial last year, he sentenced martial arts coach Derek ‘Ross’ Hodder to 28 years for abusing young girls who he had trained at a dojo in Torbay.

He was also responsible for the sentencing of a people smuggling gang which was monitored by police as they brought eight Albanians to Britain in an unseaworthy yacht that foundered at Horse Cove, Teignmouth.

He jailed organiser Indrit Barhani, yacht skipper James Wisbey, and deck hand Faye Miles to a total of 11 years and six months.

Judge Rose also had to deal with some unusual cases, including masked robber Ricky Anthony who raided a home in Axminster while claiming to be Batman. He was jailed for seven and a half years.