PARENTS have questioned how their son's body lay undiscovered just yards from his home for two months while desperate searches for him were carried out.

Darren Lawler, 31, vanished on June 11 last year and a major search was launched involving police, mountain-rescue teams, family, friends and the wider community.

The father-of-one was eventually found by workmen on August 19 in an outhouse to the unsecured rear of a vacant property just 350 yards from his home in Ferryhill, County Durham.

At an inquest today (March 11), his mother Julie Bennett said: "I just can't understand how Darren was found (350) yards away from where he lived when the police force was out looking for him and there was no gate (to the yard)."

Detective Sergeant Low, of Newton Aycliffe CID, said the force had examined more than 700 lines of enquiry and appointed a search advisor and senior investigating officer to the case.

He told the Crook inquest that the force was unable to find any connection between Mr Lawler and the address where he was found.

The inquest heard of a number of "traumatic events" in Mr Lawler's life, including the death of his brother Simon who had taken his own life the previous year.

Det Sgt Low said Darren Lawler had taken an overdose in March 2014, adding that he believed he "intended to take his own life" in June 2015.

Found among empty packets of tablets, Mr Lawler had a medical history of heroin use and was on a methadone programme while taking prescription drugs for anxiety, depression and psychosis.

A pathologist's report found he had a significant quantity of a prescribed beta-blocker drug in his body.

Crispin Oliver, deputy coroner for Durham, found the cause of death was from the effects of a prescribed drug.

Recording a conclusion of a drugs related death, he said while he had to consider whether Mr Lawler had committed suicide, the evidence was not clear "beyond all reasonable doubt".

As he read his conclusion, through tears Ms Bennett said: "Please don’t say that – I’ve had enough to cope with. My son took his life on June 11, the day before his brother's birthday."

Mr Oliver also acknowledged Durham Constabulary had conducted a "thorough" investigation.

Family friend Leanne Turton, 31, of Shotton, told The Northern Echo: "As a person he had so much life - he was there for his son, he played guitar and had so much energy.

"He was a ray of sunshine and their (parents') 'Wonderwall'.

"This is one of the hardest things they have had to go through. It's just something you wouldn't wish on anyone."

"On behalf of the family to everyone involved (in the search) they would like to say a massive thank you."