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Mortuary for 50 stone bodies to open in Britain

A MORTUARY is due to open which can cope with bodies weighing up to 50 stone.

It has been designed with extra space to cope with the number of severely overweight people.

The morgue is part of a new £4.6m coroner's court development in Corinium Way, Gloucester.

Although the courtroom is has opened for its first inquest hearings the attached morgue is not due to open till April.

It has room for 62 corpses and some of the space is extra wide to accommodate taller and wider bodies.

There are also two trolleys which can hold a person of up to 35st, and another able to hold 50st.

Scott Riddell, centre manager, said: "The dimensions have got bigger because people are getting bigger and we've had to think about that.

"In New York one man who died was 62st."

The morgue chamber contains a series of cupboards which have either four or five metal pull-out trays to store the bodies.

The facilities have a rather unusual location directly opposite Barnwood's Ibis Hotel and across the road from the biggest ice cream factory in Europe, Birds Eye Walls.

"The hotel people have been great to us," said Mr Riddell.

"While the building work was going on for this site they let people who wanted to take a look park there, which was a real bonus."

Until now, Gloucestershire had an ad hoc situation for dealing with inquests, with some taking place at Shire Hall and others at the Four Seasons conference centre in Cheltenham.

The morgue was essentially space at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital or Cheltenham General.

This new facility has observation areas and autopsy benches for pathologists, office space for the 15 workers based at the site, waiting rooms, a large inquest chamber and even a relaxation garden for visitors.

There is also parking at the main entrance.

Mr Riddell said: "These facilities are as modern as you can great, it was like we were in the dark ages before."

Sally Bye, head of registration and coroner services, said: "It's a tremendous design."