THE sister of a lifelong heroin user has described how her brother's drug use "started at Egerton Court and ended at Egerton Court".

An inquest yesterday heard Stephen Greenhalgh had a level of morphine in his system well above the range likely to prove fatal for even the most tolerant of users when he died on March 14 of this year.

The 57-year-old was found on the sofa at his Egerton Court flat with a belt around his arm and a needle in his wrist.

A post mortem and toxicology report found Mr Greenhalgh had 647 microgrammes of heroin per litre of blood.

The toxicologist reported that a level of 50mcg was enough to prove fatal in a non-habitual user.

Assistant coroner Paul O'Donnell added: "Habitual heroin users can take much higher levels, nevertheless, 100-500mcg is observed in fatal cases even in habitual users."

The inquest heard evidence which led the assistant coroner to assess whether Mr Greenhalgh, who suffered from chronic lung conditions COPD and emphysema, had deliberately taken an overdose.

The day before he died he had visited his GP with chest pain, breathlessness and sudden weight loss, which led to him being referred for suspected lung cancer.

Medical evidence included a letter which described how in June 2017 Mr Greenhalgh had voiced his plan to kill himself should his health deteriorate.

"He says he will end his life by heroin overdose... he would 'put himself down like a dog'," the letter read.

Mr Greenhalgh's sister Jane described how her brother had a passion for wildlife and birds.

He trained as an apprentice metal polisher in the yard before his health forced him to stop working.

"He has been taking drugs all his life," she said during the inquest.

"He befriended a guy in Egerton Court 40 years ago. His drug use started at Egerton Court and ended at Egerton Court."

Mr O'Donnell asked Miss Greenhalgh: "Does it surprise you that Steve died at the end of a needle?"

"No," she replied.

The assistant coroner said that despite some evidence to suggest Mr Greenhalgh had taken a deliberate overdose he was not convinced he intended to take his own life.

He concluded Mr Greenhalgh's death was a drug-related fatality.