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Coroners are independent judicial office holders. Most Coroners are qualified lawyers but some are doctors.
In Cheshire, we have a full time Senior Coroner and an Area Coroner. The Area Coroner is the Senior Coroner’s deputy, Cheshire also has several Assistant Coroners. Area and Assistant Coroners are qualified in the same way as the Senior Coroner. They have the same authority as a Senior Coroner when dealing with deaths and hearing inquests.
Coroners will investigate where a death was violent or unnatural, where the cause of death is unknown, where the deceased died in custody or otherwise in state detention, or if the death requires investigation for some other reason.
When a Coroner receives notification that a body is lying within their Coroner area, they will carry out inquiries and investigations as appropriate. Coroners have power to have a body taken to the mortuary and to retain the body for so long as is required to carry out investigations. This can include authorising a post-mortem examination in order to find out what was the medical cause of death.
The nature and extent of the Coroner’s investigations will vary depending upon the case. This may involve consulting with the doctor who last treated the person who has died, and a post‑mortem examination may be needed, in some cases the Coroner will open an investigation or an inquest.
The Coroner will always be mindful of funeral arrangements and will try to avoid interfering with these arrangements while making sure that all appropriate investigations are properly carried out.
In Cheshire, the Coroners are supported by a team of administrative staff, as well as a team of Coroner’s Officers. The administrative staff are employed by the council and the Coroner’s Officers are employed by Cheshire Police.
The Coroner’s Officers receive reports of deaths and they make various inquiries on behalf of the Coroner. Coroner’s Officers communicate with the deceased person’s relatives on behalf of the Coroner. If the Coroner opens an investigation or an inquest into a person’s death, a Coroner’s Officer will be nominated to be the personal point of contact with the next of kin or the family of the person who has died.
If an inquest is opened into a death, a police officer may contact the family of the person who has died. This does not necessarily mean that there are any suspicious circumstances surrounding the death. It may simply be that a statement is required to be taken or that other evidence is required to be obtained on behalf of the Coroner. The police may take the statement or obtain the evidence on the Coroner’s behalf.
Inquest hearings are held at the Coroner’s Court. In Cheshire, the main Coroner’s Court is located in Warrington at the Coroner’s Office. Inquests are also held in St James Business Centre, which is also located in Warrington.
In Cheshire, the Coroner’s Court is located in St James Business Centre, Warrington. Inquests are also held in the West Annexe of Warrington Town Hall.
Inquest openings, adjournments, written inquests and open and close Inquest hearings, from 9am on Wednesday 27 September 2023 at Cheshire Coroners Court, St James Business Centre, Wilderspool Causeway, Warrington, WA4 6PS:
John Paul Pratt
Robert Keith Wallace
Christopher Antoni Gojka
Stephen James Fisher
Samantha Jane Bradley
Mary Gwendoline Malkin
Stephen Leslie Powell
Michael H'adrian Smith
John Keith Gamble
Anthony David Richardson
Stephen Paul Crowley
Jacqueline Devonish BA (Hons), DipFMS
Victoria Davies LLB (Hons)
Coroner’s Office, St James Business Centre, Wilderspool Causeway, Warrington
Telephone: 01925 444216
Telephone: 01606 363892
Monday to Thursday - 8:30am to 4:30pm
Friday - 8:30am to 4pm