AN OPEN verdict has been recorded into the death of a man found in a canal as a coroner said there was not enough "evidence" for him to make a ruling.

Colin Taylor, 56, of Chestnut Avenue, Haydock, was found in the water at St Helens Canal near Blackbrook Road shortly after 9am on the morning of Saturday, December 16 last year.

Colin, born in Liverpool, was described in an inquest at St Helens town hall as "single and without occupation" and had a medical history including coronary heart disease and depression.

Coroners officer Kevin Farrell said Mr Taylor was "last seen on December 15 and there was no concern at that time."

He added: "On the morning of December 16 a member of the public reported that there was a body in St Helens Canal at Blackbrook Road.

"Officers attended and they found him there lying on his back. The body was recovered and there was evidence of a head injury."

Mr Farrell added police ruled there was "no third-party involvement" in Mr Taylor's death.

A post-mortem examination showed Mr Taylor's skin was "wrinkled" indicating immersion in water, his lungs were "inflated" and he had "lacerations" on his scalp and left ear.

He had therapeutic levels of medication and no alcohol in his system, with cause of death given as "drowning".

Coroner Christopher Sumner said that he could not record a verdict of suicide because "I have to be sure they meant to do what they did and they knew that it would kill them. All we know is that he was found in the water.

"There's no suggestion that he deliberately went in there and there's no note.

"I can't give a verdict as I don't have the evidence. I record an open verdict."