Express & Star

Black Country coroner leaves post after 40 years

The man who has served the Black Country as its coroner for more than 40 years has announced his retirement.


Robin Balmain first began investigating deaths in 1972. But he has announced that he will retire from his current position as senior coroner for the Black Country in September.

He says it has been a 'great honour' to serve the area.

Mr Balmain, who is based at Smethwick Council House, first became the assistant deputy coroner for the area then known as Sandwell North, covering West Bromwich, in 1972, working part-time while he continued in his role as a solicitor with Lyon Clark.

He later became deputy coroner for that area, before becoming coroner for Sandwell in 2000, after Sandwell North had been merged with Sandwell South, which covered Smethwick.

He then became the first Black Country coroner in 2005, covering Sandwell, Dudley and Walsall. Wolverhampton was added to his remit in January 2012, meaning he has covered one of the largest coronial areas in the UK. He is responsible for ascertaining the cause of any sudden or suspicious deaths.

During 2012, the last year for which statistics are available, more than 4,000 deaths were reported to Mr Balmain, and he carried out 520 inquests.

Mr Balmain said: "It has been a great honour to serve as the first coroner for the Black Country jurisdiction.

"I am grateful for the support of all those I deal with, and in particular Councillor Mahboob Hussain of Sandwell Council, whose help has been invaluable. I look forward to working with my successor to achieve a smooth handover."

Sandwell Council is in charge of the coroners' office and in conjunction with the Chief Coroner and Black Country partners, will now start the process of appointing a new coroner. Councillor Hussain, deputy leader of Sandwell Council, added: "I should like to add my personal thanks to those of many for the sensitive and caring service Mr Balmain has provided to the bereaved of all our boroughs.

"He has always gone the extra mile to help the community, even when occasionally we have had to call on him and his staff out of hours."

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.