Who or what is the Old Bailey’s court matron?

As Rebekah Brooks is led away by the Old Bailey's court matron after the hacking trial verdicts, we ask - who is she: Fighter of crime? Upholder of justice? Or a scary nurse?

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News outlets have been quick to report that Rebekah Brooks was led away by the Old Bailey's court matron, after breaking down in tears following the verdicts in the hacking trial earlier today. The ex-News of the World editor was cleared of all charges at the conclusion of the 135-day phone-hacking trial.

According to the Guardian“Looking faint and close to tears, Brooks walked with the support of the court's matron and later walked arm and arm with her.”

There’s only one question on everyone’s lips – who is the Old Bailey’s matron?

Little is known about her, but according to a feature in the Sunday Times Magazine written by David James Smith in 2010, the elusive figure has her work cut out for her:

When I sat with Matron in her office she confirmed, between the constant ring of her phone from one patient or another, that stress was the biggest affliction she faced in her work.

I remembered Matron from the first trial of Barry George, the man convicted and later acquitted of the murder of Jill Dando. George had kept Matron busy with his unusual complaints, which could be considered extreme forms of stress . . .

Matron, Catherine Waters, would not discuss George with me because of patient confidentiality, but did not appear to have been fazed by his illnesses. She said she never assumed anyone was faking and always called everyone - even defendants (innocent until proven guilty, after all) by their first names."

It's unknown if Catherine Waters and the matron who came to Brooks' aid are one and the same, but it appears this matron has been kept busy over the long-drawn-out trial. James Dolman, of Scottish magazine The Drum, had a run-in with the mysterious matriarch in March. The “very nice Irishwoman” sent the reporter to hospital after his upset stomach turned out to be a burst appendix.

Courtrooms are stressful places, and sometimes a kind, parental figure is what you need after a long day of angry guys in wigs.

I'm a mole, innit.

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