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Coroners

Coroners investigate sudden or unexplained death by organising postmortems and holding inquests.

The Berkshire Coroner holds inquests at Reading Town Hall.

Berkshire coroners
NameRole
Peter BedfordHM Senior Coroner for Berkshire
Ravi SidhuAssistant Coroner
Emma JonesAssistant Coroner
Alison McCormickAssistant Coroner
Ian Wade QCAssistant Coroner

pdf icon Forthcoming inquests [63kb]

If you are a member of the press and would like to receive a weekly email regarding the opening of inquests, please contact coroner@reading.gov.uk.

Coroners' contact details

Coroner@reading.gov.uk

0118 937 2300 (urgent Press enquiries in relation to openings of inquests 0118 937 4527)

Coroners' Office, Reading Town Hall, Blagrave Street, Reading RG1 1QH

Referrals

You can submit your referral to the coroners' office here.

What happens when a sudden death occurs in the community?

The coroner must establish a medical cause of death. For this reason, the coroner authorises the transfer of the deceased to a hospital mortuary whilst further enquiries are carried out. This transfer is carried out by contracted funeral directors who are suitably equipped and qualified to do so. The funeral directors are allowed to leave a business card but they are not allowed to sell themselves in any other way. 

Viewings

A coroner's officer will be able to discuss options with regards to viewing the deceased when initial contact is made. Please make these wishes known at the earliest available opportunity. 

What enquiries are made by the coroner's office?

A coroner's officer will initially contact the deceased's registered GP in order to establish whether there is a medical cause of death. If the GP is able to provide a cause of death, they will issue an MCCD (Medical Certificate of Cause of Death). If the deceased has recently been admitted to hospital, then the coroner's officer may also make contact with a treating doctor at the hospital to establish whether they may be able to issue a MCCD. 

If an MCCD is issued by a medical professional, the coroner's office will authorise release of the deceased from the mortuary into the care of chosen funeral directors. Relatives can then register the death and proceed with funeral arrangements. There will be no further involvement from the Coroner's Office. 

What happens if a medical professional cannot issue an MCCD?

If a cause of death cannot be established by a medical professional, the coroner will authorise a post mortem examination. This examination will be carried out by a pathologist and it will take place at the hospital. The coroner's officer will advise when the examination will take place.

In some situations it may be necessary for the deceased to be moved to another hospital however, a coroner's officer will advise if this needs to happen. 

What happens after a post mortem?

A coroner's officer will be in contact following the post mortem to advise on the cause of death. 

If the death is due to natural causes, the coroner will authorise release of the deceased. The coroner will also issue a form stating the cause of death which will be sent to the relevant register office. A family member will then be able to register the death and proceed with funeral arrangements. There will be no further involvement from the coroner's office.

If the cause of death is unnatural, there will need to be an inquest. The coroner's officer will advise when the deceased can be released to funeral directors. When an inquest is needed, the death cannot be registered at the register office. The coroner's office will issue interim death certificates in this case, and these will enable families to start sorting out the deceased's affairs. 

Will there be a delay in organising a funeral?

There should be no delay in organising a funeral. Once a post mortem has been carried out and the appropriate forms filled in (in the case of tissue retention), then the deceased can be released into the care of funeral directors.

If there is going to be any delay in releasing the deceased, for instance when a death is due to any criminal proceedings, this will be made clear to family by the coroner's officer. 

More information can be found in the 'Guide to Coroner Services':

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guide-to-coroner-services-and-coroner-investigations-a-short-guide

 

 

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