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

The Berkshire Coroner is responsible for sudden deaths across the whole of Berkshire, and holds inquests at Reading Town Hall.

Berkshire coroners
Heidi ConnorSenior Coroner for Berkshire
Alison McCormickAssistant Coroner
Ian Wade QCAssistant Coroner

Forthcoming inquests

Contact details

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

0118 937 2300 

Phone lines are open 8am - 4.30pm Monday to Friday excluding bank holidays. Please note this may vary depending on officer availability; however, a voicemail facility is available and the office is also contactable by email.


Doctors' referrals for the coroner's office must be submitted online. Please click the link here to make a referral.

If you are unsure of whether a death needs to be referred, please see the Notifications of Deaths Regulations 2019.

What happens when a sudden death occurs in the community?

If police attend and deem a death to be unexplained, the Coroner may authorise the transfer of the deceased to a hospital mortuary whilst further enquiries are carried out. When transfers are needed these are carried out by contracted funeral directors who are suitably equipped and qualified to do so.

Where police do not attend or a death is believed likely to be natural and/or expected, the deceased may be taken directly into the care of the family's chosen funeral director. Should a later transfer to a mortuary be required, this will be arranged by the Coroner's Office.

Initial inquiries

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 in their best believe and knowledge, 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. 

Post mortems

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 mortuary.

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 paperwork 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.


Inquests are public hearings into the facts of someone's passing. 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. Families will be kept updated as to when the inquest will take place and will be invited to attend if they wish.

Will there be a delay in organising a funeral?

The Coroner's Officer will advise when the deceased can be released to funeral directors. There should be no delay in organising a funeral. Once a post mortem has been carried out and any appropriate forms filled in, 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':



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