Don't forget, waste collections will be a day later than usual all this week after the spring bank holiday.
Recycling and rubbish collection days are also changing for some households in Mendip and South Somerset. Read about the changes and how they may affect you.

Introduction

An inquest is a Court hearing that is intended to answer four statutory questions:

  • Who was the deceased?
  • When did they die?
  • Where did they die?
  • How did their death come about?

An inquest is not a trial and it does not seek to apportion any criminal blame or civil liability.

An inquest is a fact finding enquiry that simply aims to gather information to allow the Coroner to answer these four questions.

There are 3 types of inquest:

  • Jury Inquest – a complex case where a jury is required, together with witnesses, legal representation for Interested Persons
  • Inquest – is where witnesses are required to attend to present their evidence and have questions asked of them
  • Read Inquest – no witnesses are required to attend and the coroner will sit alone. The coroner reads aloud relevant selections of evidence. The inquest duration can be quite short and the coroner will hear a number of cases in succession.

Inquest hearings are open to members of the public and the press to attend. You are welcome to be seated in the public gallery in Court on a first-come first-served basis.
If you are planning to attend an Inquest listed below, could you please either phone – 01823 359271 – or email - coroner@somerset.gov.uk. It helps to have an indication of attendance in advance to ensure that we continue to comply with fire regulations and health and safety matters which apply to the court building.

Prior contact does not ‘reserve’ a seat and attendance is purely down to physical attendance on the day.

Inquests opening week beginning Tuesday 28 May 2024

Taunton = Old Municipal Buildings, Corporation Street, Taunton TA1 4AQ
Wells = Wells Town Hall, Market Square, Wells, BA5 2RB

See the Inquest Openings – week beginning 28 May 2024 table at full width
Date and timeDeceasedDate of deathAgePlace of deathType of hearingHeld at
Date and time28 May at 9.30amDeceasedJean WaddonDate of death21 May 2024 Age88Place of deathMusgrove Park HospitalType of hearingOpeningHeld atTaunton
Date and time28 May at 9.30amDeceasedPhilip Whyman Date of death17 May 2024Age75 Place of deathStogumber Type of hearingOpening Held atTaunton
Date and time28 May at 9.30amDeceasedLorraine Hicks Date of death13 May 2024Age54 Place of deathBurnham-on-Sea Type of hearingOpening Held atTaunton
Date and time28 May at 9.30amDeceasedDrew Parsons Date of death12 May 2024Age31 Place of deathBishops Hull Type of hearingOpening Held atTaunton
Date and time28 May at 9.30amDeceasedGeoffrey Clarke Date of death25 May 2024Age64 Place of deathAxbridge Type of hearingOpening Held atTaunton

Inquests listed for final hearing May 2024

Taunton = Old Municipal Buildings, Corporation Street, Taunton TA1 4AQ
Wells = Wells Town Hall, Market Square, Wells, BA5 2RB

See the Inquests listed for final hearing – May 2024 table at full width
Date and timeDeceasedDate of deathAgePlace of deathType of hearingHeld at
Date and time1 May at 10amDeceasedPatricia Newbould Date of death11 June 2023 Age65Place of deathStoke-sub-Hamdon Type of hearingRead InquestHeld atTaunton
Date and time7 May at 9amDeceasedMary Lambert Date of death24 August 2023 Age87Place of deathMusgrove Park Hospital Type of hearingRead Inquest Held atTaunton
Date and time7 May at 11.30am DeceasedJason Winder Date of death27 June 2023 Age48Place of deathPilton Type of hearingRead Inquest Held atTaunton
Date and time7 May at 2pm DeceasedPamela Honeywill Date of death3 September 2023 Age83 Place of deathYeovil District HospitalType of hearingRead InquestHeld atTaunton
Date and time7 May at 2pmDeceasedTimothy Parker Date of death7 August 2023 Age34 Place of deathStreet Type of hearingRead Inquest Held atTaunton
Date and time8 May at 10amDeceasedDaniel Cussans Date of death15 July 2022Age43 Place of deathPamplona, SpainType of hearingInquest Held atTaunton
Date and time8 May at 10.30amDeceasedPatricia Moore Date of death24 August 2023Age87 Place of deathMusgrove Park HospitalType of hearingRead Inquest Held atTaunton
Date and time8 May at 2.30pmDeceasedSylvia Pike Date of death8 September 2023 Age83 Place of deathMinehead Community Hospital Type of hearingRead Inquest Held atTaunton
Date and time9 to 10 May at 10amDeceasedKieran Jones Date of death26 July 2023Age23Place of deathWells Type of hearingInquest Held atTaunton
Date and time13 May at 10amDeceasedLouis DalmassoDate of death20 August 2023Age39Place of deathYeovilType of hearingRead InquestHeld atTaunton
Date and time13 May at middayDeceasedDavid West Date of death12 October 2023 Age76Place of deathMusgrove Park HospitalType of hearingRead InquestHeld atTaunton
Date and time13 May at 2pmDeceasedRuth DunnDate of death22 October 2023 Age89Place of deathMusgrove Park Hospital Type of hearingRead InquestHeld atTaunton
Date and time14 May at 10am DeceasedGraham Parsons Date of death23 May 2023 Age85Place of deathWeston General HospitalType of hearingRead Inquest Held atTaunton
Date and time14 May at 1pm DeceasedGraham Gamble Date of death2 August 2023 Age73Place of deathMusgrove Park Hospital Type of hearingRead InquestHeld atTaunton
Date and time15 May at 10am DeceasedLynn Shirreff Date of death8 August 2022 Age75Place of deathIlminster Type of hearingInquestHeld atTaunton
Date and time20 May at 4pm DeceasedFrancis Batten Date of death27 November 2023 Age84Place of deathMusgrove Park HospitalType of hearingRead Inquest Held atTaunton
Date and time21 May at 10am DeceasedLisa-Ra Perkins Date of death13 August 2023 Age34 Place of deathSomertonType of hearingPre-Inquest Review Held atTaunton
Date and time21 May at 2.30pm DeceasedJakub Rutecki Date of death31 August 2023 Age21 Place of deathGlastonbury Type of hearingRead Inquest Held atTaunton
Date and time22 May at 10am DeceasedAtticus BartlettDate of death23 May 2022 Age5 weeks Place of deathBristol Children’s Hospital Type of hearingInquestHeld atTaunton
Date and time22 May at 10amDeceasedGraham Drewett Date of death3 September 2023 Age51Place of deathRode Type of hearingRead InquestHeld atTaunton
Date and time29 May at 10am DeceasedJane Bailey Date of death5 March 2024Age78 Place of deathMusgrove Park Hospital Type of hearingRead InquestHeld atTaunton
Date and time30 May at 10am DeceasedSusan Hicks Date of death24 December 2023Age66Place of deathStreetType of hearingRead InquestHeld atTaunton
Date and time30 May at 1pmDeceasedMichael Jones Date of death2 March 2024 Age85Place of deathTauntonType of hearingRead InquestHeld atTaunton
Date and time31 May at 10amDeceasedPamela Griffiths Date of death14 June 2023Age79Place of deathMusgrove Park HospitalType of hearingRead InquestHeld atTaunton

Inquests listed for final hearing June 2024

Taunton = Old Municipal Buildings, Corporation Street, Taunton TA1 4AQ
Wells = Wells Town Hall, Market Square, Wells, BA5 2RB

See the Inquests listed for final hearing – June 2024 table at full width
Date and timeDeceasedDate of deathAgePlace of deathInquest typeHeld at
Date and time3 June at 1pmDeceasedJamie HowarthDate of death22 August 2023 Age34Place of deathStanderwick Inquest typeRead Inquest Held atTaunton
Date and time3 June at 3pmDeceasedMargaret Wells Date of death10 October 2023 Age83Place of deathMusgrove Park Hospital Inquest typeRead Inquest Held atTaunton
Date and time4 June at 9.30am DeceasedThomas Griffiths Date of death7 September 2023 Age34Place of deathMerriott Inquest typeInquest Held atTaunton
Date and time5 June at 10amDeceasedAnne Nash Date of death19 September 2023 Age86Place of deathSt Margaret’s Hospice Inquest typeInquest Held atTaunton
Date and time5 June at 3pm DeceasedMargaret Pavey Date of death31 October 2023 Age93Place of deathMusgrove Park Hospital Inquest typeRead InquestHeld atTaunton
Date and time6 June at 10am DeceasedGlyn Brace Date of death2 October 2023 Age68Place of deathPitminsterInquest typePre-Inquest review hearingHeld atTaunton
Date and time6 June at 1pm DeceasedTimothy BurtonDate of death7 October 2023 Age55Place of deathBridgwater Inquest typeRead Inquest Held atTaunton
Date and time6 June at 4pm DeceasedMalcolm Deane Date of death8 November 2023 Age87Place of deathWilliton Community Hospital Inquest typeRead Inquest Held atTaunton
Date and time10 June at 10am DeceasedHarry Powell Date of death28 September 2023Age17 Place of deathLinden Hill Inquest typePre-Inquest review hearing Held atTaunton
Date and time11 June at 10am DeceasedMary Lambert Date of death11 June 2023Age82Place of deathSouthmead Hospital Inquest typeRead Inquest Held atTaunton
Date and time11 June at 12.30pm DeceasedJanet PalfreyDate of death21 May 2023 Age77Place of deathMusgrove Park Hospital Inquest typeRead Inquest Held atTaunton
Date and time11 June at 2.30pmDeceasedLevi JosephDate of death30 November 2023Age1 dayPlace of deathMusgrove Park HospitalInquest typeRead Inquest Held atTaunton
Date and time12 June at 10amDeceasedDawn FryDate of death4 September 2023Age65Place of deathYeovilInquest typeInquest Held atTaunton
Date and time17 June at 10amDeceasedRuth Cameron-Baillie Date of death30 October 2022Age80Place of deathYeovil District Hospital Inquest typeRead Inquest Held atTaunton
Date and time17 June at 11am DeceasedRobert RivettDate of death5 November 2023Age79Place of deathWilliton Community HospitalInquest typeRead InquestHeld atTaunton
Date and time17 June at middayDeceasedClifford AshfordDate of death17 November 2023Age79Place of deathFromeInquest typeRead Inquest Held atTaunton
Date and time17 June at 1.30pm DeceasedJohn Bartlett Date of death3 March 2023Age80Place of deathYeovil District HospitalInquest typeRead Inquest Held atTaunton
Date and time17 June at 1.30pm DeceasedMichael Peters Date of death19 February 2023Age89 Place of deathMusgrove Park Hospital Inquest typeRead Inquest Held atTaunton
Date and time18 June at 10am DeceasedAron Nazari Date of death8 May 2023 Age31Place of deathMiddlezoyInquest typePre-Inquest review hearing Held atTaunton
Date and time19 June at 10amDeceasedAntony SmithDate of death11 October 2023Age54Place of deathWatchetInquest typeRead Inquest Held atTaunton
Date and time19 June at middayDeceasedHazel DentonDate of death6 October 2023Age87Place of deathMusgrove Park HospitalInquest typeRead Inquest Held atTaunton
Date and time19 June at middayDeceasedVictoria Turner Date of death24 April 2023Age50Place of deathBridgwaterInquest typeRead Inquest Held atTaunton
Date and time19 June at 2pm DeceasedAdam HotchkissDate of death12 October 2023Age39Place of deathGalmingtonInquest typeRead Inquest Held atTaunton
Date and time19 June at 2pmDeceasedChristopher HandleyDate of death15 September 2023Age62Place of deathMineheadInquest typeRead Inquest Held atTaunton
Date and time20 June at 10amDeceasedRangarirai MugwiraDate of death22 November 2023Age53Place of deathNorton FitzwarrenInquest typePre-Inquest review hearingHeld atTaunton
Date and time24 June at 10amDeceasedPetras LapkovasDate of death10 October 2023Age59Place of deathBridgwaterInquest typeRead InquestHeld atTaunton
Date and time24 June at 12.30pmDeceasedTerrence LinternDate of death20 October 2023Age77Place of deathYeovil District HospitalInquest typeRead InquestHeld atTaunton
Date and time24 June at 2pmDeceasedDavid CollinsDate of death22 October 2023Age74Place of deathMusgrove Park Hospital Inquest typeRead InquestHeld atTaunton
Date and time24 June at 3pmDeceasedRaymond MorganDate of death6 January 2024Age90Place of deathWinsleyInquest typeRead InquestHeld atTaunton
Date and time25 June at 9.30amDeceasedMichelle MooreDate of death31 October 2023Age42Place of deathHighbridgeInquest typeRead InquestHeld atTaunton
Date and time25 June at 9.30amDeceasedMichael KellyDate of death19 October 2023Age77Place of deathStreetInquest typeRead InquestHeld atTaunton
Date and time25 June at 11.30amDeceasedMichael WatkinDate of death17 October 2023Age89Place of deathMusgrove Park HospitalInquest typeRead InquestHeld atTaunton
Date and time25 June at 1.30pmDeceasedBernard DixonDate of death29 October 2023Age84Place of deathMusgrove Park HospitalInquest typeRead InquestHeld atTaunton
Date and time26 June at 10amDeceasedMalcolm LinfordDate of death2 November 2023Age81Place of deathYeovil District HospitalInquest typeRead InquestHeld atTaunton
Date and time26 June at middayDeceasedLloyd SheldonDate of death25 October 2023Age72Place of deathWellsInquest typeRead InquestHeld atTaunton
Date and time26 June at 2pmDeceasedDarren BuckleDate of death2 November 2023Age56Place of deathYeoviltonInquest typeRead InquestHeld atTaunton
Date and time27 June at 10amDeceasedMichael KerslakeDate of death10 September 2023Age74Place of deathMorriston Hospital SwanseaInquest typePre-Inquest review hearingHeld atTaunton

What happens

During the Inquest hearing itself the Coroner will hear the evidence and, at the end of the Inquest, the Coroner will give their conclusion. All of the findings made by the Coroner are based on the evidence that they have heard and are on the basis of what is more likely to have happened than not – this is known as ‘on the balance of probabilities’.

This is the same standard of proof that is used in the civil courts, and so is lower than that used in criminal courts – where the Judge must be satisfied ‘beyond reasonable doubt’.
At the end of the Inquest the Coroner will complete the Record of Inquest – which is a publicly available document and contains answers to the four statutory questions.

In most cases the Coroner will sit alone but sometimes the Coroner will be required to sit with a jury.

Interested person

There is a statutory list of who is considered to be an interested person, but generally speaking interested persons are

  • Family of the deceased
  • Anyone whose acts or omissions may have caused or contributed to the death

Interested persons are entitled to disclosure of the evidence to be heard at inquest and can attend the inquest and ask questions of the witnesses.

Remote attendance and inquests in writing

An Inquest and any related hearings (such as pre-inquest reviews, suspensions and adjournments) are held in open court, unless notification is given that the Inquest will be ‘in Writing’.

Interested Persons – Witnesses – Advocates

Interested persons, witnesses and advocates should attend the inquest and any related hearings in person – they should be present physically in Court.
If you are an ‘interested person’, witness or advocate and you wish to attend the hearing remotely then you must:

  • Email a written application to the Coroner: coroner@somerset.gov.uk
  • The application must be made at the earliest possible opportunity, but no later than 10 clear working days before the listed hearing.
  • The application should clearly set out the reasons why you are unable to attend in person and why remote access should be given.

On receipt of an application within the time limits stated above, the Coroner will:

  • Seek the views of the interested persons and any advocates.
  • Deliver a ruling on the application.
  • If the application is granted and the matter is listed in a Court that has facilities for remote attendance, then the remote link will be made available to you by court staff.

The Coroner will be more likely to permit remote attendance where:

  • Remote attendance would improve the quality of the evidence given.
  • Remote attendance would allow the inquest to proceed more expediently.
  • Remote attendance is the only way to enable participation (that is, the applicant has emigrated and now lives abroad).
  • There is the capacity and technological capability to enable remote attendance at that particular hearing.
  • Allowing remote attendance would not create an unreasonable administrative burden.

In reaching a decision the coroner will also consider:

  • Whether remote attendance will impede the questioning of a witness.
  • The balance to be struck between the interests of justice and the interests of those attending the hearing.

No one has the right to observe a hearing remotely. Individuals are entitled to apply for permission and applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis and they may be refused.

Press and members of the public

From 28 June 2022 it became lawful for members of the public and the press to join hearings remotely. Should you wish to make an application then you must:

  • Make a written application to the Coroner – using this email address: coroner@somerset.gov.uk
  • The application must be made at the earliest possible opportunity, but no later than 10 clear working days before the listed hearing.
  • The application should clearly set out the reasons why you should be granted remote access.

General advice concerning remote access

Please note that there is currently only one Courtroom in Taunton that allows for the use of remote access. The Coroner also has potential access to a second Courtroom in Wells but this is only used for Jury cases and larger inquests by prior agreement. There is sufficient room in the Court to physically accommodate members of the public and press, within reason.

As such, we recommend that anyone wanting to attend an Inquest hearing does not rely on remote access being available.

Where remote access is permitted, a link to access the proceedings will be sent by email, along with a set of guidelines for conduct. Please familiarise yourself with these in advance.

Please note that it is a summary offence and contempt of court to record or transmit the proceedings and any images of any person attending the proceedings. If any person records or broadcasts all or any part of the proceedings, they will be committing a criminal offence.

Jury Service

When a Coroner hears an Inquest, they will normally sit alone. However, in certain circumstances the Coroner may be required to sit with a Jury – this is made of between seven and eleven randomly selected members of the public who will act as the ‘judges of fact’ in the particular case. They will be under the legal direction of the Coroner and it will be they, rather than the Coroner, who reach and return the Conclusion at the end of the Inquest.

Potential jury members are screened for any matters within their personal circumstances which may compromise their ability to remain impartial If the Coroner believes that they may not be able to remain true to their oath to diligently enquire into the death of the deceased, the Coroner can choose to discharge a particular juror from the selection pool before the Inquest starts. It may also become necessary to discharge a juror part way through an Inquest, but this decision is not taken lightly.

An Inquest is not a trial – it is an inquisitorial process rather than an adversarial one. The purpose of any Inquest isn’t to determine any civil or criminal blame or liability, and so no one is on trial.

If you are called to be part of a jury – if you receive a Jury Summons

Once you have been selected, you will be notified in writing that you are required to attend the Court and sit as a juror. You will then be sent a set of instructions as to what you will need to do, along with a form that you must return to the Court. You can contact the Somerset Coroner’s office if you have any questions when you receive the instructions and the form.

Attending as a juror is not optional, it is a civil obligation that you are required to perform. Failing to return the completed form or to attend and serve on the jury is punishable by a fine of up to £1000.

If you are employed, you will need to let your employer know that you will not be able to attend work during the days on which you are sitting as a juror. You will need to make sure that your employer will pay you in your absence from work, as the Court will not pay you for completing your jury service. However, in cases where your employer is unwilling to pay you, you can make a claim for loss of earnings as a result of being absent from work. This arrangement also applies if you are self-employed. There are limits as to the amount that you can be paid and these are set out in law. For more information, you can look at the jury service page of the GOV.UK website.

As a serving juror then you will also be given a daily allowance to cover food and drink. In certain circumstances then you may also be able to claim travel expenses. Please visit the jury service page of GOV.UK for more about these expenses.

What happens if you want to delay your jury service

In exceptional circumstances (such as having a pre-booked holiday, which you will need to provide documentary evidence of) then the Coroner may allow you to postpone your jury service. You will not be allowed more than one postponement.

If you think that you are unable to carry out jury service for the dates that you have been called for and you wish to make an application to postpone it, then you should contact the Coroner’s Office as soon as possible, setting out your full reasons and sending in any proof of your reason for non-attendance on this occasion. Contact details are available on this website. They will also be sent out on the notification letter that you received.

Last reviewed: May 24, 2024 by Adam

Next review due: November 24, 2024

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