A Rishton man who battled against motor neurone disease for nearly three years died from multi-drug toxicity.

Gary Hilton, 42, was diagnosed with the horrendous disease in October 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Though the disease has no known cure, he was prescribed multiple medications throughout his treatment to help him cope with the pain, such as morphine, fentanyl, and diazepam.

Gary, who was born in Bury but lived in Rishton, was found unresponsive by his carers at around 5.30am on May 14 of this year.

He was receiving palliative care as a result of his MND and carers would visit the house four times a day.

The cruel disease causes sufferers to gradually lose the ability to walk, use their muscles, and eventually talk, before the rest of the body shuts down.

The carers woke up his wife, Leanne, to say that Gary was not breathing and commenced CPR but were not able to save his life.

Reading her evidence into the record at Blackburn Town Hall, Coroner Laura Fox noted that Gary and Leanne had been a couple for 11 years, and married in November 2021 and Gary, despite struggling with his mobility at the time due to his MND diagnosis, managed to walk down the aisle.

They also managed to have a family holiday in Spain in September of last year, but in December Gary contracted pneumonia and wad admitted to the intensive care unit at Royal Blackburn Hospital.

Hospice care was recommended but there was no capacity, so he was discharged for care under the palliative team and hospice at home team.

He managed to survive for a further five months, only getting up from bed on three occasions – Christmas Day, the King’s Coronation, and the day before he died.

Ms Fox also noted Gary used an electric wheelchair when he was outside and that he was acutely aware of what was happening to him, but he continued to make his own decisions and remained strong-willed.

She offered a medical cause of death of multi-drug toxicity along with left ventricular hypertrophy (a thickening of the wall around the heart’s pumping chamber). She added the motor neurone disease as a secondary cause.

Offering a narrative conclusion, Ms Fox said: “Gary did suffer with a naturally occurring disease but his condition was, in large parts, well managed.

“His mobility was impaired, he wasn’t able to walk, but he did appear happy in the week before his death.

“I consulted his port mortem findings and I do not find his balance is purely down to his motor neurone disease and therefore a conclusion of natural causes is not appropriate.

“The concentrations of these compounds was lower than typically found in fatalities but by using them at the same time they had a combined effect which could have enhanced the sedative effect of them.

“Gary Hilton died on May 14 from the effects of multi-drug toxicity and left ventricular hypertrophy. My sincere condolences to you all.”