Inquest into death of Susan Nicholson opens

Video report by ITV News Meridian's Malcolm Shaw

A fresh inquest into the death of Susan Nicholson has begun, 10 years after her death and four years after her murderer was convicted.

In 2011, Susan was killed by her then-partner, Robert Trigg. Sussex Police initially considered her death non-suspicious, and the Coroner at her original inquest therefore found her death to be accidental.

However, Susan's parents, Peter and Elizabeth Skelton, campaigned for years for Susan's death to be adequately investigated.

Following Peter and Elizabeth's campaign, Sussex Police re-investigated Susan's death and Trigg was eventually convicted of Susan's murder in 2017, as well as for the manslaughter of a previous partner, Caroline Devlin.

He is currently serving a 25-year sentence for their deaths.

Robert Trigg is currently serving a 25-year sentence for the deaths of the two women.

After his conviction, the Senior Coroner for West Sussex intended to hold a short inquest, simply to amend the cause of death from "accidental" to "unlawful killing". Susan's parents argued that the inquest should also look at the wider circumstances of her death, and in particular, whether it could have been prevented.

The coroner refused and so Peter and Elizabeth applied for a judicial review. They were successful and the High Court ordered in October 2020 that a fuller inquest should be held, in order to comply with Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the right to life. 

The focus of this inquest will therefore be to examine whether police failings contributed to Susan's murder.

It will run until the 7 July before the Senior Coroner for West Sussex, Penelope Schofield.