Chief Coroner for England and Wales Judge Peter Thornton was late to the official opening of Gloucestershire Coroner’s Court due to a death
THE opening of a new coroner’s court in Gloucester today was delayed – ironically enough – by a death.
Chief Coroner for England and Wales Judge Peter Thornton told guests at today’s opening ceremony as his train was cancelled because of a fatality on the line.
“I'm sorry I'm a bit late – my train was cancelled this morning because of a fatality,” he said. “An inquest will be opened somewhere in due course.”
The judge, who was appointed to the position last month, unveiled a plaque to mark the opening of the new combined coroner’s courthouse and mortuary in Barnwood – the first of its kind in the country.
Speaking to an audience of around 30 local dignitaries, including Gloucestershire Lord Lieutenant Dame Janet Trotter, he congratulated Gloucestershire County Council on having “the vision and good sense” to put the courtroom, mortuary and offices in one building.
"It is a good public service project, an outstanding one and it clearly works well for the public," he said.
"The bereaved need to know what happened, how the deceased came by his or her death – that applies particularly to deaths in custody or detention, but it applies equally to all deaths where the cause is unnatural or unknown.
“The public need to know - they have a right to know.
“It is natural justice, public justice and justice to be done in public openly and transparently for all to see, particularly families. That is what the coroner's service does.”
The centre was completed in November last year and has been hosting inquests since January.
GCC have said having all the facilities needed following a death would save public money. Previously, inquests were held a number of different venues around the county, many of which were hired privately.
Gloucestershire’s chief fire officer Jon Hall, who oversees the coroner’s service, said the building was a “superb model” of what can be done and praised GCC’s work to save costs.