Man found dead in canal - mystery

MYSTERY still surrounds the death of a Nelson pensioner found floating in the Leeds and Liverpool Canal last year.

An inquest head how 84-year-old Mr Smith Pickles, of Napier Street, had suffered from depression but there was no evidence he had taken his own life.

He was found with double the prescribed amount of anti-depressant Amitriptyline in his blood although pathologist Dr Zuhair Twaij said it was not enough to kill him.

His son, Mr John Pickles, said his father had apparently been fine on the morning of his death on May 21st.

"He sometimes went for walks along the canal," said Mr Pickles. "He had been suffering from depression for quite some time but we can't believe this happened. According to mum, he was fine on the morning before he set off. We think he must have walked up to the edge of the canal and lowered himself in."

However, East Lancashire Coroner Mr Richard Taylor said he was unable to rule out other possibilities and had to record an open verdict.

"There is no evidence he has done this deliberately," he said. "I cannot record a verdict that rules out all of the other possibilities. He might just have been leant over and lost his balance. I have no option than to record an open verdict."