Coroners' presidency for Caroline
Caroline Beasley-Murray will become President of the Coroners' Society of England and Wales this Saturday (29 September)
Caroline, the wife of Baptist minister and author Paul Beasley-Murray, is currently HM Senior Coroner for Essex.
She became a full-time coroner in September 2000, and has given outstanding service to the bereaved people of Essex. With well over 7,500 reported deaths she has the busiest and the most complex jurisdiction in the country.
Under her leadership she has transformed the way in which her jurisdiction has run: the courts have all been centralised and there is now a purpose-built coroners court in Chelmsford; she has a full-time area coroner and four deputy coroners; her eighteen officers, together with five administrative case workers, all of whom now work together in County Hall and their management has been transferred from the police to the local authority; two jurisdictions have been successfully merged; and she was responsible for setting up the first coroners support service outside London, which is now staffed by some ten volunteers.
In addition, over the years she has been very active in the service of the Coroners Society for England and Wales: she created two training programmes for new coroners and pioneered mentoring for coroners; she is a long-serving member of the Law Review Committee; she is also a member of the select cadre of DVI coroners (in that role she oversaw the repatriation of the victims of the Sharm-el-Sheikh bombings).
Her contribution as a coroner has been recognised by her fellow coroners: she has been President of the East Anglian Coroners’ Society as well as President of the South East England Coroners’ Society.
Paul said that although there is no Biblical precedent for the office of coroner, the treating of everybody as equal in the sight of the law has its roots in Gen 1.26, where men and women are created “in the image of God”.
‘Not just the living, but also the dead are to be treated with respect,’ he continued. ‘As William Gladstone once memorably said: “Show me the manner in which a nation cares for its dead and I will measure with mathematical exactness the tender mercies of its people, their respect for the laws of the land, and their loyalty to high ideals”.’