The decomposed body of a 52-year-old man who told his ex-wife he thought he'd been poisoned was found in his flat almost five days after he died.

David Rimmer was found dead on July 19 at his home in Kay Street, Darwen, after his family raised concerns with the police about none contact over a number of days beforehand.

An inquest in Blackburn heard Mr Rimmer had a past history of excessive alcohol abuse, but had tried to stop drinking earlier in the year.

In a statement provided by his ex-wife, Sarah Rimmer, she said: "I was aware Dave was going on a date with a lady on the Friday, and on the Saturday he rang me and said he thought she'd poisoned him as he was being violently sick.

"I asked why she would do that but the conversation stopped as he was being sick.

"I next heard from him that evening via text, and he was still complaining about being sick."

The last contact Mr Rimmer made with his ex-wife had been on the Sunday, 36 hours after the date, when he informed her his vomiting had not subsided.

A concern for welfare call was then made to the police when Mrs Rimmer failed to hear from her ex-husband, and on a visit to his flat on Friday 19 July noticed a strong smell coming from the doorway.

When officers attended, they forced entry to the property and found him dead on his bed, with evidence he had been sick in his room.

Speaking at the inquest, Det Constable Claire Scott said she'd been to see Mr Rimmer's family as there had been concerns about the comments in relation to him being poisoned.

She said: "We went to his flat, had a look at his mobile phone, and around his room, and we couldn't find anything to suggest he'd been poisoned."

Post mortem examinations were inconclusive but toxicology could not be taken due to the decomposition of Mr Rimmer's body.

Coroner James Newman said: "It's likely that he died around the Sunday and had sadly not been found until the Friday.

"If he had been that unwell for 36 hours with a body that already had some damage because of his lifestyle, then there may have been an imbalance in chemicals in his blood which has lead to some form of collapse, which is evident from how he was found."

Mr Newman told the inquest that scans had returned inconclusive data in terms of understanding what caused his death, and in light of insufficient evidence to suggest an unnatural cause of death, an unascertained natural cause of death was offered as a conclusion.