Colleagues have paid tribute to a “talented” former Hendon Times group editor who has died aged 51.

John Killeen, who died last week, began working for the paper's owner Newsquest as a trainee journalist under former group editor Barry Brennan in 1987.

Over the years he “flourished” as a journalist, going on to become a chief reporter and group editor.

He worked for Newsquest for 19 years, before leaving the company in 2006.

Nicole Lampert, one of Mr Killeen’s former colleagues, said: “John was the best first editor a journalist could wish for: wise, funny and kind.

“He had a dry sense of humour but always had a wry smile on his face - however stressful the situation. I learned so much from him.”

Vanessa Thorpe, who worked at the Hendon Times with Mr Killeen in the 1990s, said: “He was great to work with because he was so relaxed and yet he got still got things done - creating a stylish arts and listings supplement while I was there.

“He was very pleasant to be with, while being ironic and funny too.

“He was so talented. It is awful he did not have the time to do all the living and writing he would have hoped to enjoy.”