Paul Knapman was Her Majesty’s Coroner for the central London Borough of Westminster, from 1980 to 2011. He was made Deputy Lieutenant of Greater London in 2008. His responsibility for investigating sudden deaths as an independent judicial officer saw him preside over numerous notable cases.
Cases and events
- Iranian Embassy Siege in 1980
- Libyan Embassy Siege in 1984
- The Clapham Rail Disaster in 1987
- Marchioness Boat Disaster in 1989
- The Ladbroke Grove Rail Disaster in 1999
- 7 July 2005 London Bombings (as Lead Coroner) in 2005
He was most recently in the news (October 2010) when presiding over the inquest of the barrister Mark Saunders, controversially shot to death by Metropolitan Police on 6 May 2008. After the ruling of ‘lawful killing’ Knapman revealed that he would use his powers as coroner to highlight lessons that should be learned by the police for the future and would make copies of his recommendation available to Secretary of State for Justice, Kenneth Clarke.
Knapman went to Epsom College, Surrey, King's College London, and St George's Hospital Medical School, London, where he qualified as a doctor – MB, BS (1968). He then proceeded to read for the Bar at the Council of Legal Education, and was called to the Bar as a barrister in 1972.
- Two medicolegal diplomas, namely DMJ in 1975 and FFLM in 2005
- FRCP (Honoris Causa) in 1997
- FRCS (Honoris Causa) in 1995
- President of the Coroner’s Society in 2009
- President of the Clinical Forensic and Legal section of The Royal Society of Medicine 1995–1997
- Master of the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries 2006–2007
Knapman helped found the charity, the Coroners’ Courts Support Service, with a pilot scheme in his court, which commenced in January 2003.The charity won the research, advice and support category of The Charity Awards (UK) 2011. He was the Chairman of the board of trustees of the charity until 2011.
Books and publications
- The Law and Practice on Coroners (3 edn 1985)
- Medicine and the Law (1989)
- Casebook on Coroners (1989)
- Sources on Coroners Law (1999)