CENTRAL Hampshire Coroner Grahame Short is to take over the running of all Southampton and New Forest inquests from the end of this month.

The expansion of his role means that it will become a full-time one.

As a result the 59-year-old is to leave solicitors Blake Lapthorn, which he joined in 1982, and has been a partner specialising in commercial property.

Currently all Southampton inquests are overseen by Coroner Keith Wiseman, who retires next week.

Mr Short has been Central Hampshire Coroner since 1991: “It’s obviously going to be a challenge but I hope to bring a consistent approach,” he said, adding that some Winchester inquests may be relocated to Southampton in the short term.

Coroners were established in England in 1194, with the word derived from the Latin “corona”, meaning crown.

The role has wide-ranging legal-powers to investigate sudden, unexplained and unattended deaths.