Inquest into US death of Sunderland man delayed as police inquiry continues

Shaun Dobinson died while in New York. PA Photo/thinkstockphotos.
Shaun Dobinson died while in New York. PA Photo/thinkstockphotos.

An inquest into the death of a Sunderland man on holiday in the U.S. has been adjourned again, pending a decision on possible criminal action.

A police investigation - involving officers in both America and Northumbria - was launched after the death of 21-year-old Shaun Dobinson on June 3, 2016, in New York.

Senior Coroner Derek Winter.

Senior Coroner Derek Winter.

Washington-born Mr Dobinson had worked as a trainee maintenance technician at Grundfos in Castletown for four years before moving to another job shortly before he died.

An inquest into his death was formally opened at Sunderland Coroner’s Court in November 2016, at which city senior coroner Derek Winter confirmed police had been asked to investigate the circumstances.

“As a result of those inquiries it is the case that the police have requested expert evidence,” he said.

“It will not be possible for the inquest to proceed as the police inquiry is incomplete.”

I am not in a position for this matter to be progressed to a determinative hearing as decisions by others are still outstanding.

Senior coroner Derek Winter

Mr Winter initially adjourned the hearing to February, when it was again put back to April.

Now the inquest has been postponed again and is due to resume in July.

“I am not in a position for this matter to be progressed to a determinative hearing as decisions by others are still outstanding,” said Mr Winter at a pre-inquest review hearing at Sunderland Coroner’s Court.

He adjourned the hearing to July 25, though that date could be brought forward in the event information becomes available sooner.

Fifty members of staff at Grundfos, in Castletown, cycled to Beamish and back in memory of Mr Dobinson shortly after his death, to raise funds for New York’s Presbyterian Hospital, where he was treated after falling ill.

Catherine Attwell, HR director at Grundfos, said at the time: “Shaun was a very popular and hardworking member of the team, and we all wanted to do something in his memory.

“We talked to his family who suggested raising money for the Presbyterian Hospital in New York where his family said he was so well treated.

“Shaun volunteered for everything, and was a popular member of the Grundfos Olympics team and our bike ride was exactly the sort of thing he would have enjoyed.”