THE best friend of a man who was found dead in a car on Tuesday afternoon has spoken about the events leading up to his death.
Nine people were arrested following the discovery of the body, which was slumped in the back seat of the car outside a house in Commercial Street, Oswaldtwistle.
The nine, all occupants of the house, were quizzed over the suspicion of supplying controlled drugs and were all later released without charge.
Surrounding streets were cordoned off for several hours as forensic teams searched the blue Hyundai, where the man, from Hoghton near Blackburn, was slumped on the back seat. A search of the house was carried out and police were treating the death as suspicious. A file was being prepared for the coroner following a post-mortem examination.
The dead man's name has not been released by police, but one of those arrested, Stuart Stansfield, 22, of Hoghton, said that it was his best friend, 19-year-old Jason Faulkner.
Mr Stansfield, a mechanic, claimed that Mr Faulkner had taken heroin at a friend's house in Preston in the early hours of Tuesday. The pair then drove to the house in Oswaldtwistle, where Mr Stansfield's partner, Leatrice Leonard, 35, lives with her two children.
He claimed that they slept in the car after a row with Miss Leonard, adding: "When I got up he was still alive - he was snoring. I went into the house and went to bed.
"I got up again at around 2.30pm and went outside. That's when I found him dead."
Mr Stansfield said he called the police, who arrested everyone inside the house - including friends and relatives of the couple - and took them in separate vans for questioning.
He added: "Jason wasn't a heroin addict - it was the first time he had taken it. He had started to grow up and he was even talking about getting a serious job."
A resident in the area said: "It is a shock - it shows you what this place is coming to. At one time you just got drugs in big cities but you get them everywhere now."
Detective Inspector Pete Broome, of Accrington CID, said: "As a result of initial police inquiries all the occupants from the house outside which the car was parked were arrested and interviewed by detectives in order to establish the events surrounding the man's death. Until we know how he came by his death, then obviously we have to treat it as suspicious."
- Last week Miss Leonard was fined £300 by Hyndburn magistrates after being prosecuted by Hyndburn Council for playing loud music in the early hours of the morning.