An inquest was effectively held in secret today after a Croydon Guardian reporter was thrown out of court and told the building's insurance policy did not cover him.

Security staff at Croydon Magistrates' Court court ejected Chris Baynes within seconds of the start of a hearing about the death of Liby Shanu, a young mum who died in hospital after giving birth.

Most courtrooms in the building were shut today due to building work, with only the coroner's court sitting.

A security guard told the reporter, who was initially allowed to enter court and the only journalist present, that the court's insurance policy did not cover members of the public during the closure.

However, she claimed witnesses and family members attending the inquest were covered.

The guards said they were following orders of the court's manager, who was not present.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Justice said the matter would be investigated but has not yet commented.

Mrs Shanu, aged 27, of Thornton Heath, died at Croydon University Hospital 11 days after giving birth to her son at St George's Hospital in Tooting.

The Indian-born student was discharged from St George's after the birth in June 2011, but was admitted to Croydon University Hospital the next day after falling ill.