A RETIRED bus driver who collapsed at his home in front of friends died from natural causes.

David Hatfield, 55, had been smoking heroin in the hours leading up to his death, but an inquest ruled he died of coronary artery disease.

The hearing at Preston Coroner's Court heard Mr Hatfield, from Burnley, had been feeling unwell in the days before his death on March 26.

A statement from his pal Samantha Ray was read our during the inquest, which said: "He'd thrown up a number of times.

"At around 4pm he had been smoking some heroin in some foil and he started coughing and spluttering.

"Then at about 7pm, Daivd started coughing and spluttering again and collapsed."

Ms Ray said she then attempted CPR while her friend Carrie Keogh rung for an ambulance.

But despite their best efforts, ambulance crews pronounced Mr Hatfield dead at the scene at his house in Brennand Street.

Born in Wiltshire, the inquest heard that Mr Hatfield was a retired bus driver and had a history of drug use.

Dr Sue Carney, a consultant radiologist, who carried out a post-mortem examination into Mr Hatfield's death, said that he had extensive coronary artery calcification, which is when calcium builds up in organs.

She offered a cause of death as coronary artery disease.

Toxicology tests showed there were low blood concentration total morphine and free morphine levels in Mr Hatfield's system, as well as a lower blood alcohol concentration.

But they established that the low levels of morphine and alcohol meant it was unlikely that the cause of death related to substance misuse.

Recording his conclusion of death by natural causes due to coronary artery disease, assistant coroner for Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen, Simon Jones, said: "A cause of death has been offered as coronary artery disease.

"That is the most likely cause of death.

"So I would conclude that Mr Hatfield died from natural causes due to coronary artery disease at his home in Brennand Street, Burnley, on March 26 this year."