Indigo, the Science, People & Politics inter-issue blog. Item eight, published 23rd June, 2015. and are spidered regularly by the British Library for non-print legal deposit.

Explanatory note added 3rd July, 2015. Minor typo correcetd and word added on 4th July, 2015. Items 8 to 13 of Indigo are an account, which I reported daily from the press box, of an inquest between 23rd June and 1st July, 2015 at The Law Courts in Bradford. The news reports give a human face to the tragedies which so often lie behind forensic science, in this case in the context of the Coroners' Court, and in a case where police were involved. Reporting such proceedings requires considerable journalistic professionalism. I undertook the task for the Science, People & Politics inter-issue blog, as a complement to a report we will next publish of the Royal Society's special issue on forensic science, and also in the context of an investigation I am making for Science, People & Politics into the place what is termed mental health has in the Court system generally in the UK, and in particular its interaction with the Criminal Justice System. I would like to thank the family of the deceased in this case, none of whom I had ever met previously, nor known of, for their temporary acceptance of me in what is for them a personal grief. Helen Gavaghan. BSc (hons), MCIJ.

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Coroner Court
Jury determinations



23rd June, 2015. Bradford Coroners' Court: death by a single shot to the head

The human side of a Coroner's Court was brought poignantly to life this afternoon when the distraught mother of the deceased left the Inquest into her son's death rather than watch forensic video evidence of her son's home immediately after his death. Mr N. A. Cameron, the Coroner, had asked whether she would like to stay, and she had said, yes. In the event before the video began she broke down in tears, saying, "I cannot do this."

The video footage blurred images of attending police and of the deceased's body.

Earlier the home office pathologist had told the Court the deceased, Colin David Berry, would have lost consciousness within seconds, making a convincing case in her evidence for this assertion by her description of the bullet's entry point and pathway through the brain. The bullet remained in the cranial cavity.

A small amount of ampthetamine, roughly a fifth of what would have been a fatal dose, was found in Mr Berry's blood. There were no other illegal substances, nor prescription medication.

The Court heard forensic testimony that from one blood sample there is no way to tell how long the amphetamine had been in the body. The coroner sought to clarify whether one could tell whether the amphetamine concentration was building or diminishing in the blood stream. Counsel present included Mr Davies QC for the chief constable of West Yorkshire Police and Mr McGuinness for the deceased's mother. The inquest continues tomorrow. Helen Gavaghan, editor Science, People & Politics.


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