A former trainee journalist who worked his way up to be Hendon Times group editor has died.

John Killeen, who died last week, was one of the first trainees former group editor, Barry Brennan, hired in 1987.

Mr Brennan said: “I'd interviewed him, a Dublin University graduate, and felt he had the talent to be a fine newspaper reporter. After a week's work experience I told this young Irishman I was signing him up.”

Another four trainees were employed at the same time as Mr Killeen, and all five flourished under Mr Brennan.

He said: “John, and another two in that band of five, developed into chief reporters, sub editors and even editors within our group. 

“Then John became Hendon Times Series deputy group editor - my right-hand journo.  And when I retired in 1999 I was delighted that Newsquest appointed him my job. He did well there too."

Mr Brennan last saw his former colleague three months ago. He said: "I'm so glad that I got to see him. 

"He was a very trustworthy man, he had a good moral outlook, he enjoyed a pint of Guiness and was always very helpful to everyone he worked with. 

"He was a cheerful man and was absolutely rated by his fellow journalists."