Tyrrell v HM Senior Coroner County Durham and Darlington and Another: Admn 26 Jul 2016

The court was aked what article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights requires of a coroner when a serving prisoner dies of natural causes.
Held: The reuest for judicial review failed. Mr Tyrrell’s death was, from the outset, one which was clearly from natural causes. The cause of death was established and then confirmed on post-mortem examination. There was no indication of state involvement in his death of the sort that would trigger the procedural obligation under article 2 ECHR. The coroner was right to conclude that the procedural obligation was not engaged.
The positive obligations under article 2 encompass a duty to account for the cause of any death which occurs in custody. The procedural obligation arises only in circumstances where the responsibility of the state is engaged in the sense that there is reason to believe that the substantive positive obligations have been breached by the state. In the case of deaths in custody the procedural obligation will be triggered in the case of all suspicious deaths, including apparent suicides.

Burnett LJ, Lang J
[2016] EWHC 1892 (Admin), CO/3068/2015
Bailii, Judiiary
European Convention on Human Rights 2, Coroners and Justice Act 2009 1(2)
England and Wales
CitedRegina v North Humberside and Scunthorpe Coroner ex parte Jamieson CA 27-Apr-1994
The deceased prisoner had hanged himself. He had been a known suicide risk, and his brother said that the authorities being so aware, the death resulted from their lack of care. The inquest heard in full the circumstannces leading up to the death, . .
CitedMiddleton, Regina (on the Application of) v Coroner for the Western District of Somerset HL 11-Mar-2004
The deceased had committed suicide in prison. His family felt that the risk should have been known to the prison authorities, and that they had failed to guard against that risk. The coroner had requested an explanatory note from the jury.
CitedOsman v The United Kingdom ECHR 28-Oct-1998
Police’s Complete Immunity was Too Wide
(Grand Chamber) A male teacher developed an obsession with a male pupil. He changed his name by deed poll to the pupil’s surname. He was required to teach at another school. The pupil’s family’s property was subjected to numerous acts of vandalism, . .
CitedJordan v United Kingdom; McKerr v United Kingdom; similar ECHR 4-May-2001
Proper Investigation of Deaths with Army or Police
Claims were made as regards deaths of alleged terrorists in clashes with the UK armed forces and police. In some cases the investigations necessary to justify the taking of life had been inadequate. Statements made to the inquiry as to the . .
CitedGentle, Regina (on the Application of) and Another v The Prime Minister and Another HL 9-Apr-2008
The appellants were mothers of two servicemen who had died whilst on active service in Iraq. They appealed refusal to grant a public inquiry. There had already been coroners inquests. They said that Article 2 had been infringed.
Held: The . .
CitedJL, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for Justice; Regina (L (A Patient)) v Secretary of State for the Home Department HL 26-Nov-2008
The prisoner was left with serious injury after attempting suicide in prison. He said that there was a human rights duty to hold an investigation into the circumstances leading up to this.
Held: There existed a similar duty to hold an enhanced . .
CitedSlimani v France ECHR 27-Jul-2004
A Tunisian was committed to a psychiatric hospital on several occasions. He died while detained in a detention centre awaiting deportation. The applicant complained that there had been a violation of article 2 on two grounds: the detention centre . .
CitedGoodson v HM Coroner for Bedfordshire and Luton Admn 17-Dec-2004
A patient had died in hospital following an operation. The NHS Trust submitted that ‘There is a real distinction between cases of medical negligence, which were specifically addressed as a discrete area in Calvelli, and cases of intentional killing . .
CitedTakoushis, Regina (on the Application of) v HM Coroner for Inner North London and others CA 30-Nov-2005
Relatives sought judicial review of the coroner’s decision not to allow a jury, and against allowance of an expert witness. The deceased had been a mental patient but had been arrested with a view to being hospitalised. He was taken first to the . .
CitedTarariyeva v Russia ECHR 14-Dec-2006
A complaint was made that the authorities had failed in their duty to protect a prisoner’s life. The authorities had him in custody for two years and knew of his health problems. He was not properly treated in the penal colony. When he had acute . .
CitedKats and Others v Ukraine ECHR 18-Dec-2008
The applicants were the parents and son of a prisoner who died in custody of an HIV related illness. They complained of her treatment in custody.
Held: If someone dies in custody an explanation of the cause of death must be provided, including . .
CitedDaniel and Another v St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust and Another QBD 19-Jan-2016
The claimants as PR’s of a deceased prisoner claimed under the 1998 Act as to his treatment whilst in prison.
Held: The Claimants failed to establish violations of Articles 2 or 3 and their claim against both Defendants was dismissed. . .
CitedSmith, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Defence and Oxfordshire Assistant Deputy Coroner (Equality and Human Rights Commission intervening) SC 30-Jun-2010
The deceased soldier died of heat exhaustion whilst on active service in Iraq. It was said that he was owed a duty under human rights laws, and that any coroner’s inquest should be a fuller one to satisfy the state’s duty under Article 2.
Prisons, Human Rights, Coroners, News

Updated: 20 January 2022; Ref: scu.567656