THE son of a Taunton man who died in heroic circumstances is doing his bit to ensure bereaved people are not exposed to intrusive 'camera-in-your-face' journalism such as his family experienced.

Architect Patrick Lynch placed the needs of the bereaved at the forefront of his mind when he designed an extension to Westminster Coroner's Court in the shadow of the Houses of Parliament.

Dr Lynch's aim when he embarked on the project was above all to cater for the interests of grieving family members.

His father, Benny Lynch, died in 1992 when he dived into the River Tone in Taunton in a courageous and ultimately unsuccessful attempt to save another man struggling in the water. Mr Lynch received a posthumous Royal Humane Society award for courage and bravery.

At a planning committee meeting at Westminster City Council last Tuesday, when the plans were unanimously approved and supported by Historic England, Dr Lynch referred to his father's tragic death.

He said: "I attended the inquest at the Victorian Coroner’s Court in Taunton a few weeks later with my mother and siblings, and our overriding memory is not of the exterior of the stone building, but of its dignified, solemn timber interior.

"Exposed to press photography and intrusive journalism that day, I vowed that if I was ever called upon to design a coroner’s court, then I would place the needs of the bereaved above anything else, and aim to protect their privacy and dignity as much as possible."

Dr Lynch has excluded the County Gazette from criticism, saying his family is grateful for our reporter's "considerate" manner.

He spent four years working with the Coroner for Inner West London on the design of the Westminster Coroner's Court and its garden of remembrance

"Our task has been to accommodate individuals’ private experiences of sorrow and loss in their intricate use of quite a complex public building with serious, dignified, quietly beautiful, civic architecture," Dr Lynch told council planners.

"This is a task which the coroner and we have approached with modesty, pragmatism and tact, in the hope that our efforts will ease the suffering of the bereaved, respecting their plight; and respecting also the setting of the listed Victorian courthouse, maintaining the clear identity of its simple, symmetrical red and brick form."

The new coroner's court project features a press room and two gardens, one for the sole use of families attending inquests, which should make contact between journalists and the bereaved much easier to manage, away from the general public.