A new state-of-the-art autopsy facility will open in Bradford this year, giving families a choice of how their loved ones' deaths are investigated.

Ground-breaking 3D digital scanning equipment being fitted in an extension at the Burnham Avenue mortuary, off Rooley Lane, will eventually mean up to 70 per cent of post mortems could be non-invasive and not use a scalpel.

The contract has just been signed between Bradford Council and Malaysian-based life science enterprise iGenei to install the software and special scanner.

The 3D process is intended to be less harrowing for relatives and in some cases may allow the body to be released for a funeral sooner, providing there are no further investigations and examinations to follow.

Deputy Leader of Bradford Council, Coun Imran Hussain, said: “We are proud to be pioneering this technology as Bradford is one of the first places in the country to have a digital autopsy facility.

“It will be welcome news for all bereaved families as invasive post mortems can be distressing for relatives.”

Matt Chandran, iGene chief executive, was in Bradford today to seal the deal.

Ash Govind, global vice-president of iGene, said: “Our new Bradford facility will be a real milestone.”

The changes, which mean Bradford will be the second city in the country after Sheffield to use the modern technology, were explained at City Hall in October in front of faith leaders, councillors and representatives from the coroner's service.

The investment from iGene is around £1.5 million and will cost Bradford Council nothing.