Amy Winehouse inquest may be reopened as ‘wrongly appointed’ coroner resigns
Inquests into the death of Amy Winehouse and 11 other Camden residents could be reopened after it emerged the coroner who conducted the proceedings was wrongly appointed by her husband.
Assistant deputy coroner Suzanne Greenaway, who presided over inquests into the deaths of 12 residents, resigned from her post after questions were raised over her qualifications.
Her husband Dr Andrew Reid, who is Inner North London Coroner, appointed her to the post in 2009 despite holes in her CV. The Office for Judicial Complaints has launched an investigation into Dr Reid’s behaviour.
In one of the last inquests Ms Greenaway heard at St Pancras Coroners’ Court on October 26 last year, she recorded a verdict of misadventure in the death of troubled soul-singer Ms Winehouse.
Shortly afterwards in November last year Ms Greenaway stepped down from the position she had held since 2009.
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Dr Reid said: “While I am confident that all of the inquests handled were done so correctly, I apologise if this matter causes distress to the families and friends of the deceased.
“I will be writing to the families affected to personally apologise and offer for their cases to be reheard if requested.”
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Ms Winehouse’s family is seeking advice on whether to ask for a new inquest.
All families affected will have to apply to the High Court to have the inquest verdicts quashed and the inquests reopened.
The Ministry of Justice said Camden Council would have to foot the bill for any inquests that are reheard and the cost could run to thousands of pounds.
Camden Council’s finance boss Cllr Theo Blackwell told the Ham&High: “Obviously if there is an extra cost because rules were not followed we would be extremely concerned about that.
“But we do need to get to the bottom of it to find out exactly what went on here because it’s quite a shocking chain of events and we will make sure the council taxpayer is safeguarded here.
“But, that said, we have to make sure that procedures are properly done and inquests are redone if needed.”
A council spokeswoman said the error had been made in “good faith” but sought to distance the council from Ms Greenaway’s appointment.
Rules state that Ms Greenaway could only be appointed if she had been a medical practitioner, barrister or solicitor in the UK for five years. she qualified as a barrister in Australia in 1999, but only joined the Law Society in the UK in 2009.
She presided over more than 30 inquests across a number of London boroughs, all of which could be reordered.