Research into coroners; STUDY REVEALS INCONSISTENCIES IN VERDICTS.
By LOUISE COOPER Louise.firstname.lastname@example.org @reporterlou A FORMER senior West Yorkshire detective turned Huddersfield University researcher has discovered inconsistencies in the way coroners record how people died.
After his years investigating death and serious crime as Detective Chief Superintendent and head of West Yorkshire's CID and Homicide Team, Dr Maxwell McClean decided to conduct PhD research into inconsistency among coroners' verdicts. Coroners investigate deaths which are violent, unnatural, or of unknown cause, to find out the circumstances which lead to a person dying.
Dr McClean said: "If coroners cannot agree on what caused a person's death, or whether the death was even reportable or not, then the desired prevention of future deaths becomes a difficult task. This is how we keep people alive."
Dr McClean's research involved 35 senior coroners in England and Wales reaching a verdict on three fictitious scenarios that were typical of reported deaths coming to an inquest.
The findings revealed little consensus on the conclusions reached, despite the fact that they had been given identical information for all three scenarios.
Dr McClean, an affiliate of the Secure Societies Institute at Huddersfield University, added: "A national coroner consensus to achieve a shared inference from available evidence is urgently needed."
Around 240,000 deaths in the UK are reported to coroners every year.