The Rutherford Review

In the summer of 2008, the University was sent a copy of a report entitled Possible health risks due to ionising radiation in the Rutherford Building (formerly Coupland Building 1) at The University of Manchester produced by John Churcher, Don O'Boyle and Neil Todd. Mr Churcher was Lecturer in Psychology, 1979-2002; Dr O'Boyle was Lecturer in Psychology, 1972-2003; Dr Todd was Lecturer in Psychology, 1993-2005, and is now Lecturer in Neuroscience.

In response to the concerns raised in the report the University engaged Professor David Coggon OBE MA PhD DM FRCP FFPH FFOM FMedSci to lead an Independent Review. Professor Coggon's work is under-pinned by work being undertaken by the Health Protection Agency (HPA), with regard to radiation issues and the Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL), with regard to mercury issues.

Professor Coggon is President of the Faculty of Occupational Medicine and is based at the Medical Research Council's Epidemiology Resource Centre at the University of Southampton. Professor Coggon is an expert in the epidemiology of occupational and environmental causes of disease. Professor Coggon's review is ongoing and is expected to reach its conclusions towards autumn 2009. Professor Coggon may be contacted at:

Professor David Coggon
MRC Epidemiology Resource Centre
Southampton General Hospital
Southampton SO16 6YD


The purpose of these web pages is to provide a source of information for interested parties as the review develops. Documents are provided on the following pages and will be added to as the review progresses:

You will need a PDF reader such as Adobe Acrobat (downloadable from Adobe) to view PDF file(s).

Please note that names of occupants have been removed from these reports in order to protect individuals' confidentiality. The full reports are held by the University and are in the possession of Professor Coggon, HPA and HSL.


At a coroner’s inquest held on Thursday, 10 January 2013 in Manchester, the coroner concluded that Professor Tom Whiston and Dr Arthur Reader died from natural causes and that their deaths were not connected with their occupancy of offices in the Rutherford Building during their employment at The University of Manchester.

The coroner’s independent judicial opinion supports the conclusion reached by Professor David Coggon of the University of Southampton, who led the University's own independent review into these issues, and Professor John Neoptolemos of Liverpool University, who was instructed as an expert witness by the coroner as part of the inquest process.

This has been a long and difficult process for the families of our former colleagues. We hope that they are reassured by the coroner's verdict.

Contact us

If you have any queries or concerns these may be directed to Professor Coggon or to Dr David Barker, Head of Compliance and Risk (, who will ensure they are passed on to Professor Coggon and HPA/HSL as appropriate.