Lucy Meadows coroner rebuked by complaints office for criticising transphobic press

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The coroner who wrote to the Culture Secretary to express his disgust at the press following the death of transgender school teacher Lucy Meadows is reported to have been given an official rebuke by the Office for Judicial Complaints.

In May, Michael Singleton, coroner for Blackburn, Hyndburn and Rossendale, condemned the press for intruding into the private life of Lucy Meadows.

Before her death from suicide in February,Meadows had contacted the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) to complain about the way she had been treated after her gender transition was made public by a local paper and then the wider national media in December 2012.

Mr Singleton said: “To the members of the press, I say shame. Shame on all of you”.

However, the Daily Mail has reported that Mr Singleton was given an official rebuke after his handling of the hearing was referred to the Office for Judicial Complaints (OJC).

According to the Mail, the Chief Coroner gave Mr Singleton “informal advice” on his comments about the role of the Press, as well as his comment that he had undertaken private research into the case.

PinkNews is currently awaiting a statement from the OJC regarding the validity of these statements.

Asked yesterday whether he wished to retract his comments or make an apology, the Mail reported that an official in his office said Mr Singleton was unavailable for comment.

Much of the coverage prior to Lucy Meadows’ death took a critical view of her transgender identity, with many asking whether the decision to transition was “appropriate” for a teacher.

But her school supported her decision and wrote to parents in December 2012, informing them of the development in a letter. 

Daily Mail columnist Richard Littlejohn wrote disparagingly about Meadows in a column, and was subjected to renewed criticism following her death.

The PCC received a number of complaints about the article – but none directly from the family of Lucy Meadows.

Lucy Meadows, 32, was found dead in a house in Lancashire on Tuesday 19 March.

In June, Labour Leader Ed Miliband wrote to PinkNews to say that the death of Lucy Meadows shows more needs to be done to end prejudice in society.

He wrote: “The terrible death of Lucy Meadows highlighted the prejudice faced by the trans community. Too many young people still fear to come out at school due to bullying. In too many places in the world it is still a crime to be gay.

“Pride is our opportunity to speak with one voice against homophobia, hate crimes and discrimination. I want Britain to be seen as a beacon of hope on LGBT equality”.