BRADFORD's new coroner Martin Fleming starts work in the city today.

The 57-year-old from Manchester, who has previously served as assistant coroner in Sheffield, Liverpool and the Wirral, Surrey and Inner West London, is due to hear his first inquest this morning.

The £100,000-a-year appointment was made by Bradford Council nearly two years after the district's last coroner was suspended on full pay.

Dr Peter Straker, who was suspended in February 2013, quit the top role in March this year just before a high-level probe into complaints about his conduct recommended he be removed on the grounds of incapacity but cleared him of any misconduct.

Included on new coroner Mr Fleming's list for today is an inquest into the death of Bingley man Christopher Thomas Hutton, aged 67, who died this October ten years after he was involved in a road accident.

Also listed are three industrial disease cases and an inquest into the death of 67-year-old Alexander Wright of Parsons Road, Bradford, understood to be from natural causes.

As HM Coroner for the Western Area of West Yorkshire, Mr Fleming has jurisdiction over the Kirklees and Calderdale areas as well as Bradford with a combined population of 1.3m. All three councils pay his wage but Bradford made the appointment as the lead authority.

Its Acting Chief Executive Suzanne Hemingway said: "I'm delighted we have a new coroner in post and wish him well in his new role."

The work of a Coroner, who is an independent judicial officer, is to investigate all sudden, violent and unexplained deaths of people who have either died in the area or whose bodies are brought into it. Inquests determine who, when, how and in what circumstances a person has died.

This jurisdiction's Coroner's Office deals with about 3,200 reported deaths and approximately 500 inquests every year.

In the council's job description for a new senior coroner, it said it was looking for exceptional candidates with enthusiasm and excellent interpersonal skills to inspire others.

It also sought proven leadership, organisational, management, efficiency and budgetary control skills as well as experience of managing and embracing change and having recent experience in coronial law and procedures.

The job specification continued: "You will have sound knowledge of all aspects of the English Legal system with particular regard to Coronial law and the laws of evidence, the administration of the legal system and proceedings and will demonstrate the ability to handle highly sensitive or emotionally charged situations effectively. Your exceptional communications skills are important.

"You must have the ability to readily explain legal and medical terms to non-specialists, and you must be competent in dealing with sensitive situations involving relatives, witnesses, the police and the media."