Letter for Publication on Senior Coroner

Dear Editor,

One has to question why  Mary Hassell was first offered, and then took on, the job of senior coroner in inner North London, covering the boroughs  of Camden  Islington, Hackney and Tower  Hamlets, a multi cultural, multi faith  area very different from South Wales where she previously worked.

A modicum of research by both her and those making the appointment would have revealed the cultural expectations of the Jewish and Moslem communities, both significantly represented in our local population.

If she was  not prepared to provide an occasional  ‘out of hours’ service to cope with deaths outside her working hours, or accept scans (paid for by the bereaved  families) rather than invasive post mortems, why did  she take the job?

And in the appointment process, why was these points not raised with her, in the first place?

Does she not recognise the distress her behaviour causes to bereaved relatives at what is already a difficult and stressful time?

So far she has cost local taxpayers £1/4 million in legal costs – money which can hardly be spared at a time of huge cuts in local council expenditure, and which the councils have no choice but to pay for her – as she has defended High Court cases brought by relatives challenging her decisions, which cases should never have had to be brought in the first place.

If she is not prepared to mend her ways, she should resign or find a transfer to another part of the country which better reflects her monocultural view of society.



Andrew Dismore

Labour London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden