A BURNLEY man was found dead in his bed on New Year’s day at the age of 41, an inquest heard.

James Patrick O’Callaghan had wished his sister a Happy New Year before he went to sleep at the family home in Keith Street in Burnley, East Lancashire Coroner’s Court was told.

But when a check was made on him later on January 1, he could not be roused and an ambulance was called. Consultant pathologist Dr Walid Salman said that no medical cause of death could be established, despite toxicology and tissue tests being undertaken.

Minor problems with his heart and liver were not sufficient to cause concern, according to the doctor.

And although he was on a range of anti-depressant, anti-psychotic and anti-epileptic medications, tests showed they were within therapeutic levels within his body, the court heard. Dr Salman said that the most likely cause of death, on balance, was that Mr O’Callaghan suffered a significant seizure while he was asleep.

Recording a verdict of death by natural causes, East Lancashire coroner Richard Taylor said it was unfortunate that he appeared to have passed away ‘on what should have been a joyous night’.

Earlier, the court heard that on Christmas Eve the deceased, who had attended Burnley College but never worked through ill health, had been told he was also suffering from diabetes and high cholesterol levels.

On New Year’s Eve he had complained of feeling tired and had gone back to bed.

Later his mother took some food up to him as he had not eaten.

His sister Mary Harrison told the inquest that in the years leading up to his death he had never suffered a major seizure.

The court heard that Mr O’Callaghan had led an independent life but had taken the death of his father, on Christmas Eve 2009, very hard and later suffered a breakdown.