Tom Blenkinsop MP commenting on renewed calls by Middlesbrough Mayor, Ray Mallon, for the resignation of Teesside coroner, Michael Sheffield, today (4th December 2012) said:
“It’s a frustrating and tragic situation what has been taking place for many years at the Coroners Officer here on Teesside. I’ve raised the issue on numerous occasions and had particularly high hopes for reforms when the National Chief Coroner, Judge Peter Thornton QC, took on that role.
“Unfortunately, the problem has lasted the best part of a decade and many current and former MPs have called for action to be taken to deal with the problem so I am pleased to see Mayor Mallon is now also seeking a resolution.
“I understand that the Office for Judicial Complaints is awaiting the final version of Middlesbrough Borough Council’s scrutiny report before recommencing their own investigation. The report is pretty damning when you consider that there was a backlog of cases of up to three hundred at any one time and the despair families go through waiting for outcomes. I hope Mr Sheffield takes heed of this, does the appropriate thing and steps aside so that Teesside Coroner’s Office can move forward.”