Written evidence from Ms Maryanne Beare, Psychotherapist and Coach at Inchkey

 

As a Mother whose 37-year-old Son, Charles Jeevan Beare was murdered abroad 2 years ago,

I was not informed at any point that if my son’s body was not brought back to the UK, there would not be an inquest. I was so pleased that I had a lawyer friend who told me about this policy.

My first contact with Surrey Coroner’s office was to do with my Son’s post mortem.

This was not a very good experience, as it took over 2 weeks for the Coroner’s office to find a pathologist to perform a post-mortem. The Coroner Officer allocated to me was not very helpful. I found her at times inappropriately insensitive and flippant.

 

My Son’s body was finally released for the funeral. This was attended to sensitively by my allocated Coroner Officer. The same officer attended to my Son’s death certificate.

From then onwards I was allocated several different Coroner officers to my Son’s case. During these times up till recently, I found it very difficult to get any replies from them to my emails, requesting for updates with regard to my Son’s post mortem report. It took 2 years for me to finally obtain my Son’s post mortem report! This only happened because I finally had a new Coroner Officer who was and is very effective and efficient.

 

With the help of the Foreign Commonwealth Office Homicide, Victim Support and especially the Charity Murdered Abroad, I was able to learn about procedures and expectations with regard to the Coronial law process.

I was very fortunate to especially have the charity, Murdered Abroad’s advice and have their offer to seek a Pro-Bono Barrister to represent me at the PIRH. This made a huge difference in preparing me for requesting the Coroner to delay holding my Son’s inquest till after the criminal case was concluded abroad.

What worked well:

  1. The Coroner Officer allocated to me was at the beginning very helpful with the release of my Son’s body.
  2. The provision of my Son’s death certificate to deal with his estate.
  3. The PIRH was conducted by a Coroner who had empathy, respect, care and concern towards my request and towards my Son and myself when holding the PIRH. I was very impressed.

What didn’t work:

  1. The attitude of Coroner Officer allocated to me lacked sensitivity and empathy at certain times.
  2. The lack of response from my allocated Coroner officer to my emails for 2 years to give me     updates on the status of my Son’s post mortem report. This caused me a huge amout of unnecessary anxiety.

What would make it even better:

  1. Allocated Coroner Officers to families should be ‘Trauma’ trained, so that they can learn how to be sensitive and empathetic when dealing with grieving families.
  2. The allocated Coroner Officer should be respectful to families and respond to emails.
  3. Murdered abroad cases need to be have the UK inquest after the abroad criminal case is over as different countries have different processes and this needs to be taken into account.

Recently I have been allocated a new Coroner Officer. She has been excellent. She is very effective and efficient in responding to me. We need more like her. My experience at the PIRH was a good one as the Coroner who presided over my Son’s case was very emphatic and respectful towards the case and towards both my Son and myself.

The above two recent experiences have somewhat restored more trust in my future dealings with the Coroner’s office.

September 2020