A 65-YEAR-old man lay dead on his bed for around five weeks before his badly decomposed body was discovered, an inquest heard.

The body of Paul Rothwell ­— described as 'a very quiet and private person' ­— was found on July 15 at his home in Haslingden by police.

Officers forced entry into his property after neighbours had reported not seeing Mr Rothwell for more than a month.

At his inquest at Burnley Magistrates' Court, Coroner James Newman said a post-mortem examination had been hampered due to the severe decomposition of his body.

This left examiners unable to ascertain an exact cause of death.

Mr Newman said: “Mr Rothwell had a history of liver disease, heart failure, pre-diabetes, and suffered from mental health problems as well as schizophrenia.

“He was last seen by his GP on March 29 when he reported having inflamed dermatitis for which he was referred to a dermatologist.

“He had also had a routine blood test in March which was fine.

“However, his GP reported that he failed to attend an appointment on June 14, and then also on June 21, and did not respond to letters sent to his address.”

A statement from Mr Rothwell’s brother, Nick, said that he had not seen the retired car mechanic since 2010.

He said: “Paul was a very quiet and private person who did not mix well with other people.”

PC Ivan Brown was asked to attend the address on Bury Road after neighbours hadn’t seen him for four or five weeks.

In a statement read out in the inquest, PC Brown said: “I looked through the letter box and could see a lot of letters on the floor and noticed there was a terrible smell.

“I forced entry into the house and was then hit by a greater smell.

“I found Paul in his bedroom, fully clothed on his bed and requested an ambulance.”

Concluding the inquest, Mr Newman said: “Mr Rothwell was a gentleman with significant and complex medical and mental health problems.

“The post-mortem examination was inconclusive but I am satisfied he had been dead for some time.

“Therefore, although no cause of death has been identified, I am going to find that he died as a result of an unascertained natural disease.”