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Teesside coroner retires after decade of criticism

Teesside's coroner has announced his retirement for the end of April.

It follows a decade of criticism that it takes too long for inquests to be heard.

There have been backlogs of around 300 families waiting to hear how their relatives died.

Today the coroner said he was going, as progress has been made in the coroner's office. But it's now emerged another complaint has been made about him in the last couple of weeks. .

Watch Frances Read's report here:

Teesside coroner announces retirement

Teesside's coroner has resigned announcing his retirement for the end of April. In a statement Michael Sheffield said his retirement "follows the implementation and satisfactory process in the increased resourcing and administration of the Teesside coroner's office."

It follows a decade of criticism that some inquests on Teesside take too long to be heard. There is still a backlog of more than 300 inquests waiting to be heard at the moment, which the Chief Constable of Cleveland Police has vowed to reduce.

Last year an investigation concluded Mr Sheffield wasn't to blame for the backlog.

He is the longest serving coroner in England and Wales having served on Teesside for more than four decades.

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Teesside coroner retires after 40 years

The Senior Coroner for Teesside has announced his retirement. Michael Sheffield has worked with the service for more than four decades.

His retirement follows repeated calls for him to step down after it was found that the service had up to 300 families waiting for inquests at any one time. The backlog was reduced after reforms.

Full Report: Middlesbrough's mayor calls for government help to force coroner to resign

The mayor of Middlesbrough has written to the justice secretary, appealing for the government to make Teesside's coroner resign - and ITV News has had exclusive access to the letter.

There have been repeated calls for Michael Sheffield to step down, after it was found that the Teesside coroner's service had up to 300 families waiting for inquests at any one time.

However, the coroner says the backlog has been reduced and the service is now progressing well.

Watch the full report from Frances Read below.

Mallon asks Greyling to intervene on Teesside coroner

The mayor of Middlesbrough, Ray Mallon, has written to the Justice Secretary appealing for the government to make Teesside's coroner resign.

ITV News has had exclusive access to the letter which asks Mr Grayling to secure Mr Sheffield's removal from office.

"Mr Sheffield is accountable to no-one. And what I want Mr Grayling to do is intervene and remove him from his post immediately.

"It's the case that people have got to move on. He's been there over 40 years, and what I'd like to see is somebody new come in with new ideas."

– Ray Mallon, Mayor of Middlesbrough

There have been repeated calls for Michael Sheffield to step down, after it was found that the Teesside coroner's service had up to 300 families waiting for inquests at any one time.

Mr Sheffield had written to police requesting more resources, as the force staffs part of the coroner's service.

Since a review by the local council Cleveland Police have put in more staff, temporarily, and that backlog has now been reduced.

Another review by the probation service is underway and the force has promised to stick to the recommendations it makes.

"We are just over one month into the review and it is progressing well.

"We have seen a reduction in the backlog, and the staff within the office continue to work hard to deliver the service that supports bereaved families on Teesside."

– oint statement from Teesside's coroner's service and Cleveland Police

Calls for coroner's resignation: Letter in full

Teesside Labour MPs Tom Blenkinsop, Alex Cunningham, Andy McDonald and Iain Wright have written to Teesside Coroner, Michael Sheffield, calling on him to resign from his post,

My fellow Teesside MPs, Tom Blenkinsop, Andy McDonald, Iain Wright and I believe the latest report into the performance of the Coronial service on Teesside by Councillors in Middlesbrough supports our long held view that it is time you retired.

The report makes it clear that despite the Teesside service having above average resources, the performance was below average with bereaved families across the area facing longer waits than anyone else for inquests into the death of their loved ones to be completed.

This confirmed earlier information.

– Alex Cunningham, MP

“Others have added their voices to those of us who have already asked you to step down.

We confirm today that you do not enjoy our confidence and we do not believe that the service can recover and provide the level of service our constituents need and deserve.

We are aware that you are currently subject to an enquiry into your performance by the Office for Judicial Complaints but in the light of the latest report and the clear statistics around the time taken for inquests on Teesside, we would ask you to do the right thing for Teesside families and retire without further delay.”

– Alex Cunningham, MP

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MPs calls on Teesside coroner to resign

Four North East MPs have renewed calls for Teesside's coroner to resign.

In an open letter on Alex Cunningham's website, he, Tom Blenkinsop, Andy McDonald and Iain Wright tell Michael Sheffield it would be in the best interests of people living on Teesside if he steps down.

At any one time 300 families have had to wait for inquests because of a backlog.

Mr Sheffield's lawyers say that the MPs did not take up an offer to meet with him but he is working to resolve the problem.

Call for Teesside's coroner to resign

The Mayor of Middlesbrough, Ray Mallon, says Teesside's coroner should resign with immediate effect claiming the public have lost confidence in him.

At any one time 300 families are waiting to hear how their loved ones died because of a delay to inquests.

Mr Mallon says Michael Sheffield has outstayed his welcome and that he should apologise for any pain caused to grieving families.

Middlesbrough mayor calls on coroner to resign

Middlesbrough Mayor Ray Mallon has called for Teesside's coroner Michael Sheffield to resign, saying that he has brought the service "into disrepute."

It comes after a report found that there was a backlog of up to three hundred inquests at any one time and that the time families had to wait to find out how their loved ones had died was much higher than the national average.

Ray Mallon also revealed that he had had two private meetings with Michael Sheffield last month, and said that it was regrettable that he has been forced to make this public.

For the full report on this story you can watch our programme at six o'clock.

Council meet to discuss future of coroner's service

A meeting is being held this lunchtime about the future of the coroner's service on Teesside.

Coroner Michael Sheffield has been heavily criticised for having a backlog of up to three hundred inquests at any one time.

Families have to wait on average 44 weeks to find out why their loved ones died - which is much higher than the national average.

Last week, the Chief Constable of Cleveland police, who staff his office, apologised for the pain that has been caused to grieving families.

Jacqui Cheer is going to put in extra staff after Christmas to temporarily clear the backlog.

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