The inquest into the death of Gaia Pope-Sutherland has concluded after 12 weeks

18 July 2022

Gaia Pope-Sutherland went missing on 7th November 2017 in Swanage, Dorset. Her disappearance prompted the largest multi-agency search in Dorset Police’s recent history, and Gaia’s body was sadly found in undergrowth off a coastal path south of Swanage eleven days later on 18th November 2017. Two IOPC investigations followed and the Inquest finally began in April 2022. 

The Inquest, held in the Bournemouth Coroners Court, examined wide-ranging issues relating to Gaia’s medical history, management of her mental health care and her epilepsy care, her contact with police in the days before her death and the police response to her disappearance. There were fifteen Interested Persons, including Gaia’s family, Dorset Police, the IOPC, Her Majesty’s Coastguard, NPAS and multiple NHS Trusts. Over the course of a twelve week hearing, the Coroner heard evidence from more than seventy witnesses, including experts in entomology, psychiatry and epilepsy. The examination of police contact with Gaia from the day of her disappearance onwards was extensive and accounted for a significant proportion of the evidence. Thirty six police witnesses were heard, ranging from control room staff to response officers, a National Search Advisor at the NCA and three Chief Superintendents. 

At the conclusion of the evidence and following legal submissions, the Coroner held that there would be no sound basis upon which causative matters relating to Dorset Police could be left to the jury. Accordingly, the record of inquest reflects that despite a number of missed opportunities and admitted failings, the acts or omissions of Dorset Police did not cause or contribute to Gaia’s tragic death. 

Beatrice Collier and Amy Clarke were instructed on behalf of Dorset Police. Mark Thomas was instructed on behalf of the IOPC.​


The inquest attracted considerable national media coverage, some examples of which can be found here: 


Beatrice Collier

Call 2004

Mark Thomas

Call 2006

Amy Clarke

Call 2010

Related areas

Police Law


Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and event updates.



16 April 2024

Chambers is delighted to announce that Head of Chambers, Jason Beer KC is one of only…

Discover more

14 February 2022

The first hearings of the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry commenced today.  Previously a non-statutory…

Discover more

19 December 2023

A message from Head of Chambers, Jason Beer KC, looking back at the past 12…

Discover more

Portfolio Builder

Select the practice areas that you would like to download or add to the portfolio

Download    Add to portfolio   
Title Type CV Email

Remove All


Click here to share this shortlist.
(It will expire after 30 days.)