BRADFORD’S top judge, Jonathan Durham Hall QC, has announced his retirement after an illustrious career in which he locked up hundreds of the city’s murderers, drug dealers, sex offenders and dangerous drivers.

The news that he is standing down broke at 9am today on the Judiciary website. It states: “His Honour Judge Jonathan David Durham Hall QC retires as a Circuit Judge with effect from 10 July 2020.”

Judge Durham Hall, 68, the Honorary Recorder of Bradford, presided over many important and high-profile cases over the years in what he called “this great city.”

In January, he jailed Bradford’s X Factor star Danny Tetley for nine years for trading on his celebrity status to sexually abuse seven boys.

In May last year, he imprisoned Mohammed Nisar Khan, known as Meggy, for life with a minimum term of 26 years for the “barbaric and determined” murder of Amriz Iqbal, known as Major. Khan’s “right hand man” Tony Grant received a 17-year minimum sentence for the murder in Sandford Road, Bradford Moor, in October 2018.

In February last year, he jailed nine sexual groomers for a total of more than 132 years for raping and preying on two vulnerable girls who were in local authority care in Bradford.

He was also a leading figure in the crackdown on dangerous drivers in Bradford, telling defendants that the message must get out that “when the blue lights come on, you stop or go to jail.”

Judge Durham Hall was called to the Bar in 1975 and took Silk in 1995. He was appointed an Assistant Recorder in 1991, a Recorder in 1995, a part-time Chairman of the Mental Health Review Tribunal in 2001 and a Circuit Judge in 2003.

He was the Course Director for Long and Complex Trials Training (Judicial College) from 2010 to 2015 and appointed the Resident Judge and Honorary Recorder of Bradford in 2017.

He stepped aside for two months in February after The Sun newspaper ran a story that sparked a misconduct probe by the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO).

An investigation was held to see if he had breached standards by allegedly exchanging sexual texts and videos with a woman who worked in the court building at Bradford and with whom he was in a relationship.

At the time, a spokesman for the judiciary said he had “no professional working relationship” with the woman.

Judge Durham Hall was back sitting at the court in April after being completely exonerated of any wrongdoing.

A spokesman for the JCIO told the Telegraph & Argus at that time: “After an investigation the JCIO found no misconduct and dismissed all complaints against His Honour Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC, the Honorary Recorder of Bradford.”

Stephen Wood QC, Head of Bradford’s Broadway House Chambers Criminal Team, told the Telegraph & Argus: “Not just the Bar, but the whole legal profession across Bradford will miss 'JDH', as everybody called him.

“He was always a pleasure to appear in front of. He had a great sense of humour. He once admonished me in front of a jury, when he said "I tell the jokes in this court, Mr Wood".

“I think his best quality as a judge was that he was very good at judging people. He could sense which Defendants were deserving of being given a chance but by the same token he was not afraid to jail people who really deserved it and sometimes for very long periods.”