A FORMER smoker died shortly after being diagnosed with lung cancer and while living at a facility for people with mental illness.

Stephen Miles suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and died at The Spinney in Atherton in December, 2010.

A jury inquest to determine the cause of his death started at Bolton Coroners’ Court yesterday.

Assistant Deputy Coroner Alison Hewitt told the court a jury inquest is necessary whenever anyone dies while they are being detained, in cases such as this or when people die in custody.

She read a statement from his brother Peter Miles, who lives in High Wycombe.

It said Mr Miles spent a short time in the Navy, but did not enjoy it and worked at electrical retailer Currys for five years.

He also drank alcohol and took drugs and was sent to prison on several occasions for between one and six months.

The 55-year-old was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia when he was in his mid 20s and he had been living at The Spinney in Everest Road since 2006.

In February, the former smoker, who suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, went to hospital and had an X ray after he had coughed up blood but it appeared normal.

In mid July he went to hospital with shortness of breath and an X ray showed inflammation and he was given antibiotics and a follow up appointment was suggested for six weeks later.

That would usually be arranged by the patient’s doctor, but Mr Miles did not have a GP so a letter should have been sent to him directly.

Consultant Owen McCormack told the jury the notes did not say whether a letter was sent.

He added: “There is no evidence it was sent so I am assuming it was not which is an error on our part. It is disappointing.”

Mr Miles returned to hospital at the end of September, a couple of weeks after a follow up appointment should have been arranged, and it was found he had cancer in his lungs, which had spread to his brain and back.

The case is proceeding.