A NEW coroner’s courtroom has been opened in Essex.

The facility, which includes family rooms and offices, is the county’s first dedicated area for inquests.

It was opened by the Lord Lieutenant of Essex Lord Petre, High Sheriff Julia Abel Smith and former High Sheriff Lady Rosemary Ruggles-Brise.

The court, off Victoria Road South, Chelmsford, has been designed specifically as a sympathetic environment for families who have lost a loved one, often in tragic circumstances.

Essex Coroner Caroline Beasley–Murray said: “This new facility will help us provide support to people at an extremely difficult time.

“I'd like to thank everyone involved who has made this possible.

“It's a fitting development at a time of national coronial reform and will help to deliver the high quality service Essex deserves.

“The people of Essex, in particular the bereaved, are being provided with an improved, more efficient and more sensitive service.”

The court will be used to open and conduct inquests into sudden and unexpected deaths as well as hold hearings into the ownership of discovered treasure.

Kay Twitchen, chairman of Essex County Council, said: “When people come to the coroner’s court it is always at a very difficult time in their lives.

“It is important we offer quiet, calm, dedicated facilities for them.

“The individual meeting rooms will be very valuable and I am delighted we have been able to provide such pleasant surroundings for the coroner’s service.”

The ribbon cutting ceremony was carried out on Friday.