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Evidence and releasing the body

What happens when evidence is gathered and when a body can be released


A relative, close friend or acquaintance may be asked to identify the body to establish the name of the deceased. Sometimes this may have to be done by other means.


Prior to the inquest, statements will be taken either by us or the police. These will form the basis of the evidence, which will be given on oath at the inquest.

If we need to interview someone about a death, we will aim to do so no more than is necessary, at a time and place convenient for the person concerned. If the person wishes, they may be accompanied during the interview by a relative, friend or other person. We will make every effort to avoid causing any additional distress to relatives or close friends of the deceased.

We will provide a copy of any statement to be used at the inquest to the person who made it, on request, in advance of the hearing (unless the coroner has good reason not to release it).

Post mortem examination

When the coroner decides that a post mortem examination is necessary, wherever possible the immediate next of kin will be given, if they request it, an explanation of why an examination is necessary and what is involved; and a copy of the post mortem examination report.

If possible, they will also be told when the post mortem is expected to take place so that they may be represented by a doctor if they wish. However, post mortem examinations must be undertaken as soon as possible, and notice may not always be practicable.

The coroner will, on request and at his discretion, provide copies of the post mortem report, for which payment may be required.

Releasing the body

The coroner will release the body of the deceased for the funeral at the earliest opportunity. Where there are uncertainties as to the cause of death or where the death is not natural, it may be necessary to retain the body longer for further investigation. The coroner will ensure that relatives are advised of potential delays and the reasons for them.

Small tissue samples, whole organs or body fluids may be kept for a more detailed examination. The family will be informed when this is necessary, and their wishes as to the eventual disposal or return of these will be asked.