A MAN who was found in the Leeds and Liverpool Canal in Blackburn died accidentally, a inquest has ruled.

Joseph Nicol Doherty, 31, was found at around 11.30am on Saturday, January 21, in the water just off Bolton Road near to the Raj Indian restaurant.

Mr Doherty, who lived in the town, was last seen on Christmas Eve when he left his mother's home and said he was going to the Islington Hotel, but was told to come back the next day for Christmas.

His mother, Elizabeth Doherty, said in the inquest: “I just knew something was going to happen to him.

“He’s been in and out of prison for the last 17 years.”

Police carried out enquiries but could not find information about his whereabouts from December 24 to when his body was found.

A blood sample was taken by police which revealed the identity of the body in the canal.

PC Tipping said: “Officers were satisfied there was nothing suspicious.

“There’s no conclusion where he spent days before his death or the circumstances which led to him being in the canal.”

The inquest was told that Mr Doherty had been released from prison on December 23 after being referred for breaching a community order.

He was scheduled to have a follow up meeting with a police officer on January 3 which he did not attend.

A DNA test carried out as part of the post mortem revealed the presence of amphetamine, MDMA, cocaine and morphine in his body.

Bur Dr Sisson said he did not have an amount that would have caused him to die from drug related issues and gave a cause of death as drowning.

The body was discovered by Lee Wright, who was walking home from work along the canal when he saw something in the water.

Mr Wright said: “At first I saw what I thought was a bin bag. Then I thought it was a cap in the water.

“When I looked closer I thought that could be a jacket.”

Coroner Michael Singleton gave a verdict of accidental death.

He said: “There was no evidence of where, when, or how he ended up being in the canal.

“Clearly Joe was a troubled soul in many ways.

"For a parent he was no doubt difficult to manage but I know as a parent how love is unconditional.”

The hearing was held in Blackburn.