A missing man from Esher was found “badly decomposed” in a back garden a month after he was last seen alive, an inquest heard.

Darren Tollworthy, 42, also known as Darren or Danny Deacon, was reported missing on October 15 last year, two days after he was last seen alive in Hinchley Wood by a friend.

Coroner Dr Sean Cummings told the inquest at West London Coroner’s Court on Monday, March 24, it was normal for Mr Tollworthy to go off for a couple of days at a time.

Mr Tollworthy, who had previously suffered from alcohol dependency and drug related problems, was found dead by police in a garden in New Malden on November 13.

A neighbour reported a backpack and bicycle propped up against her garage in Berkeley Lodge, Sandal Road, for two to three weeks.

Police went to the address and found personal items and identification belonging to Mr Tollworthy.

In his witness statement read to the inquest, PC Ian Matthews said he looked over the fence at the bottom of the garden and gained access to the garden of another home in Sandal Road.

He said: “I looked over the fence and the rear of the garden had a shed as well as a pile of clothes.

“I climbed over and saw the clothing was a person’s body badly decomposed. I believe the body in question related to the missing person Darren Tollworthy.”

The body was found lying face-down in the undergrowth at the bottom of the garden and items of discarded food and drink were found in the shed.

PC Jonathan Hinder said it looked as though someone had been using the unused shed as shelter “for some time”.

Dr Cummings said there was no evidence of foul play and the state of the body suggested it had been there for several weeks.

A postmortem examination was unable to establish a cause of death due to the state of the body but toxicology reports showed the presence of morphine in Mr Tollworthy’s system.

Summing up, Dr Cummings said: “Considering all the available documents to me, I am unable to reach a conclusion other than to say that I shall reach an open verdict.

“There is no evidence to support any foul play, no evidence to support any medical cause and no evidence of any actions by Darren himself.”

No relatives of Mr Tollworthy were present at the inquest, despite attempts by the coroner to contact them.