London coroner who bullied staff and left sensitive documents on train fired

Chinyere Inyama

Chinyere Inyama

A controversial London coroner who bullied staff and once left sensitive investigation files on a train has been sacked for misconduct.

Chinyere Inyama, the senior coroner for west London, has been removed from office by top judges following an investigation into allegations he misled the chief coroner.

Mr Inyama, a qualified lawyer who became a coroner in 2013, had a series of high-profile controversies during his tenure.

In 2014, he left behind a highly sensitive police file about the murder of schoolgirl Alice Gross on a train.

The 14-year-old was snatched and killed by contractor Arnis Zalkalns after taking a walk along a canal towpath in Ealing, west London.

Mr Inyere was tasked with overseeing her inquest and later faced sanctions for how he handled the aftermath of the lost file incident.

Soon after, the coroner became furious for allegedly holding inquests late at night, in an apparent attempt to make up for a backlog that had left families and friends of the deceased waiting months for inquests.

In 2017, Mr Inyama was back in the firing line due to his management of the Fulham coroner’s court and interactions with staff.

Murdered schoolgirl Alice Gross (PA)

Murdered schoolgirl Alice Gross (PA)

A statement from the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO) at the time revealed that Mr Inyama had “bullied a member of the coronial staff” and sent inappropriate text messages and comments to a second member of staff.

The senior coroner was reprimanded but kept his job, reportedly worth £120,000 a year.

The series of scandals caused an internal rift in relations between Mr. Inyama and some staff members, and he spent a long time in the post, but did not actively oversee investigations.

His resignation was announced in a JCIO notice published this weekend, following a secret misconduct trial.

The statement read: “The Lord Chancellor, with the consent of the Lord Chief Justice, has removed senior coroner, Mr Chinyere Inyama, from office for misconduct.

“Judicial office holders are required to inform their judicial leaders (in this case the chief coroner) of all conduct-related matters that may affect their position or the reputation and status of the judiciary.

“The JCIO received information indicating that Mr Inyama may have misled the chief coroner about serious allegations related to his conduct.

“After an extensive investigation, a disciplinary panel found that he had deliberately minimized the allegations when he told the coroner’s office about it. Mr. Inyama accepted that he had.

The disciplinary panel, which had considered the mitigation offered by Mr. Inyama, ruled that he must have known that he was required to give a full and accurate account of the allegations. By deliberately downplaying their seriousness, he knowingly misled the chief coroner. This showed a serious lack of integrity and a profound lack of judgment, which was misconduct of a serious nature.”

Despite recent promises to improve transparency in the misconduct process, the JCIO notice does not disclose what process of misconduct is involved in Mr. Inyama’s dismissal, or the nature of the restriction proposed to the panel.

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