Legendary crime reporter was award-winning author

Tributes have been paid to ex-Press Club member Harry Hawkes following the death of the legendary Birmingham Post & Mail crime writer, a journalist who covered many of the Midlands' biggest stories.

Harry, who was 86, died at a care home, following a long illness.

Harry Hawkes and his wife, Eunice

Harry was a journalist in Birmingham for 43 years and is best remembered for his role as crime correspondent, with his catalogue of high-profile assignments including the Cannock Chase Murders and the hunt for Black Panther Donald Neilson.

Harry, who was from Kenilworth, wrote books about both cases and his 1978 work, Capture of the BlackPanther, won the coveted Crime Writers' Association silver dagger award. Murder on the A34 was hailed as the definitive background piece on the capture of child killer Raymond Leslie Morris.

When asked if he had made money from his books, Harry joked: "No, I have discovered crime does not pay."

His widow, Eunice, said: "I am very proud of what he achieved. He was totally committed to his job - he lived for it."

The last published piece by Harry appeared in the Birmingham Post - an article commissioned following the 2011 death of Neilson.

Former Birmingham Mail deputy editor Tony Dickens said: "He was an old-time pro, very thorough. He was a great mentor to those younger reporters."

Press Club vice-chairman Fred Bromwich, who worked with Harry on both the Mail andPost, said: "I remember him very fondly. He was a real pro. As far as his crime correspondent job went, he was the ultimate in the Midlands and far beyond.

"His list of contacts could not be bettered. He was a fantastic colleague to work with and a real character."

Outside work, Harry was an avid collector, and wrote an antiques column for the Post.

He was particularly proud of his large collection of old typewriters. "We must have about 100. There’s a loft full of them," added Eunice.

Harry is also survived by three children and three grandchildren. Funeral arrangements have yet to be finalised.