Mummified Penwortham man was 'heavy drinker'

A man whose son failed to report his death for five months was a heavy drinker and smoker who died from heart disease, an inquest heard.

The partially mummified body of Guy Blackburn, 54, was found on a bed in the living room of his home in Penwortham, Lancashire, on 22 March.

Preston Deputy Coroner Simon Jones ruled the labourer had died on or about 4 November 2010.

His son, Christopher, 29, has admitted preventing a lawful and decent burial.

Christopher Blackburn has also pleaded guilty to pocketing his father's benefit payments and will be sentenced at Preston Crown Court next month.

Members of the family declined to attend the inquest at Preston Coroner's Court.

'Decay smell'

The hearing was told Mr Blackburn was a heavy drinker and smoker who had a "significant" medical history and had suffered numerous strokes and stomach ulcers.

He was discharged from hospital in October 2010.

Ch Insp Neil Esseen, of Lancashire Constabulary, said there was an "immediate and strong smell of decay" when he visited the house in Alderfield last March.

He discovered a partially mummified male with clear infestation around the body.

It was clear the body had been there for some time and newspapers and mail dated 3 to 4 November were found nearby, he said.

He said he called for a post-mortem examination by a Home Office pathologist when Mr Blackburn's son, Christopher - who stayed at the house at weekends - told detectives he had seen his father "alive and well" the week before.

Dr Alison Armour found there were no suspicious circumstances and deduced that he had died from coronary artery atheroma, probably in early November 2010.

Recording a verdict of death by natural causes Mr Jones said: "The date of death cannot be established accurately but I intend to to record that Mr Blackburn died on or about November 4, 2010."

Christopher Blackburn, of Norman Road in Birkby, Huddersfield, has been warned by a judge that he is facing a jail term.

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