Mystery of death at ransacked house

Reporter: Beatriz Ayala
Date published: 21 February 2012

MYSTERY surrounds the death of a Moorside man whose body was found at home days after his home was ransacked.

Steven Durkin (41), from Wells Road, was found in bed on August 8, 2010, by police who had broken down his door following concerns by his friend David Anderson.

Mr Anderson told an inquest in Rochdale yesterday that he became worried when Mr Durkin did not answer his phone in the days before his body was found.

He had visited his home every day during the five days leading up to Mr Durkin’s death but the house was secure and the blinds shut.

It was only on the fifth day that he saw Mr Durkin’s front window was broken and the inside of his house smashed up.

Mr Durkin’s sister Jacqueline Durkin said her brother had alcohol and drug problems since he was 18 and could be volatile but also very loving.

Dr Naomi Carter, forensic pathologist, said a post-mortem examination showed Mr Durkin had been dead for some time when he was discovered on August 8.

She said there was nothing externally to suggest an assault had taken place, but toxicology results found 253 milligrams of alcohol in his blood, three times the drink drive limit.

Medication, including valium, codeine, paracetamol, the antipsychotic drug chlorpromazine, antidepressant dothiepin and painkiller buprenorphine, was also found in his system.

Dr Carter gave cause of death as a combination of alcohol and medication in his system.

Lisa Hashmi, assistant deputy coroner for Greater Manchester North, said on the balance of probability, she could only give an open verdict.