A judge who called a racist thug a "bit of a c***" after he launched a foul-mouthed tirade at her has been branded a "hero" and a role model for children.
Judge Patricia Lynch QC was sentencing John Hennigan at Chelmsford Crown Court for his ninth breach of an anti-social behaviour order in 11 years when the exchange took place.
The 50-year-old was in the dock when he told Judge Lynch she was a "bit of a c***", to which she responded: "You are a bit of a c*** yourself. Being offensive to me does not help."
Shouting back, Hennigan said: "Go f*** yourself," to which the QC replied: "You too."
Judge Lynch jailed him for 18 months for insulting and making racist slurs against a black Caribbean mother in Harlow, Essex.
After news of her four-letter retort circulated, scores of people took to social media to praise her reaction and choice of words - with many branding her a "hero" and an "idol".
Stan Keaton tweeted: "Judge Patricia Lynch QC has a cracking reply to a racist thug in her courtroom."
David Duncan added: "What a legend judge Patricia Lynch is," while Gemma Tomlinson wrote: "I would like to buy judge Patricia Lynch a drink."
Greg Stone tweeted: "Judge Patricia Lynch, a nation salutes you."
Luke Farley said: "Hats off to Judge Patricia Lynch. I think it was a reasonable response given the vile racist in front of her."
Marc Thomas posted: "It is a bit hard to give children role models nowadays but Judge Patricia Lynch QC is definitely one."
The Judicial Conduct Investigations Office, which handles complaints about judges, is yet to confirm whether any complaints have been received about Judge Lynch.