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Deaths Reported to Coroners: England and Wales, 2003

NCJ Number
Richard Allen
Date Published
June 2004
15 pages
This bulletin presents statistics on deaths reported to coroners in England and Wales during 2003.
During 2003, 210,700 deaths were reported to coroners in England and Wales, the highest number recorded. The proportion of all registered deaths reported to coroners rose to 39.4 percent in 2003, up from 37.7 percent in 2002. Coroners ordered post-mortem examinations in 119,600 cases (57 percent) in 2003, which is 1,900 fewer than they requested in 2002, representing a downward trend. Post-mortem examinations were conducted in 95 percent of cases in which an inquest was held; when there was no inquest, post-mortem examinations were conducted in 51 percent of cases. Inquests were held in 27,100 of the deaths reported to coroners in 2003, which is 680 more inquests than were conducted in 2002 and represents the highest number of inquests held in the last 30 years. During 2003, verdicts were returned in 24,300 inquests, 840 more than 2002. The most common verdicts in 2003 were death by accident or misadventure (40 percent of verdicts), natural causes (20 percent), suicide (13 percent), and open verdicts (11 percent). Inquests were held without juries in 97 percent of the cases in 2003, the same as previous years. Most verdict categories experienced rises, with the exceptions of drug-related deaths, which were down 9 percent from 2002, and deaths from industrial diseases, which were down 10 percent. Finally, during 2003 there were 396 finds, 154 inquests were concluded, and a verdict of treasure was returned in 140 cases. Tables, figures, notes


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