Following delays due to the coronavirus pandemic, the full inquest into the death of Gaia Pope will now be heard four months later than expected.
The 19 year old from Swanage went missing on 7th November 2017, leading to a search involving hundreds of people from the local community, the police, fire service and coastguard.
Her body was found 11 days later by police on 18th November 2017 near the South West Coast Path between Anvil Lighthouse and Dancing Ledge, just west of Swanage. A post-mortem examination concluded that Gaia died of hypothermia.
Pre-inquest hearing in Bournemouth
At a pre-inquest hearing in Bournemouth on Tuesday 15th September 2020, Dorset Coroner, Rachael Griffin set a provisional date for the full inquest of Monday 10th May 2021.
The hearing was expected to be in January 2020 but it’s been delayed to ensure that all the evidence has time to be properly reviewed before the inquest goes ahead.
Postponed during the summer due to coronavirus
Two pre-inquest hearings were postponed during the summer due to coronavirus. Two more pre-inquest hearings have now been scheduled for early next year, prior to the full inquest.
This will be the opportunity for Gaia’s family to hear evidence from more than a hundred witnesses about the police investigation into her disappearance and the events leading up to her death.
The family’s legal team will be able to question the witnesses, so they can understand, as best as possible, what happened. The full inquest is expected to last eight weeks.