UK

Who Was The Man On The Moor? Mystery Of David Lytton Whose Body Was Found On Saddleworth Moor

It took almost a year to find out who he was.

15/03/2017 15:07 GMT | Updated 15/03/2017 22:28 GMT

A new documentary airing Wednesday takes a fresh look on the case of the “Man on the Moor” - a mystery man found dead on a moor after suffering poisoning more than a year ago. 

Despite an inquest examining the death of David Lytton, Coroner Simon Nelson on Tuesday recorded an “open conclusion”, saying that “fundamental questions remain unanswered” about the 67-year-old, whose body was discovered on 12 December 2015.  

Channel 4, who will screen Mystery Of The Man On The Moor this evening, have obtained never-before-seen footage and recordings surrounding the case and gained exclusive access to the police investigation. 

Lytton’s death baffled detectives who took more than a year to even identify him, and did so after cross referencing flight details with surgical files from Pakistan that were more than a decade old. 

Ahead of the documentary screening, here is everything you need to know about Lytton’s mysterious death. 

Who was the Man on the Moor?

GMP
An artist’s impression issued when David Lytton’s body was found in December 2015

On 12 December 2015, a body was discovered by a cyclist on the Chew track leading from Dovestones Reservoir boating lake to Indians Head, on Saddleworth Moor.

According to the Sun, he was found with his head pointing uphill, legs together and arms by his side.

The smartly dressed man was not carrying an identification, but three train tickets, £130 in cash and an empty medication bottle with a label in English and Urdu were found in his possession. He was not carrying any form of identification on him.

The man had been poisoned with strychnine.

He was dubbed Neil Dovestones in reference to the area he was found.

CCTV showing Lytton at Ealing Broadway tube station

Investigations later revealed the man had been caught on CCTV at Ealing Broadway station in London, as well as London Euston and Manchester Piccadilly stations.

How was he identified as David Lytton?

Lytton was found to have a 10cm plate in his left leg, inserted between 2001 and 2015, which was traced back to an operation he underwent in Pakistan. 

According to the BBC, the link to Pakistan, coupled with the fact that the mystery man was spotted at Ealing Broadway, led Detective Sergeant John Coleman to request flight data from Pakistan to London Heathrow. 

This led to DNA tests that confirmed the man’s identify as David Lytton.

Who was David Lytton?

The life of David Lytton continues to remain somewhat of a mystery.

Lytton was born David Keith Lautenberg in 1948 in Finchley, north London, to a family who fled Europe.

A former partner, Maureen Toogood, told the BBC he was a “strange” man but spoke fondly of him.

She said Lytton had worked variously as a a croupier, a taxi controller for a mini-cab company, a baker and a train driver for the London Underground.

Toodgood said that in 2006 Lytton left the UK without warning. She believed this was for California but it was actually for Pakistan.

Ian Hodgson / Reuters
Lytton's body was found on Saddleworth Moor, in the Pennines

What happened in the run-up to David Lytton’s death?

Lytton flew to London from Lahore, Pakistan on 10 December 2015, and had dinner with an old friend.

That evening he checked into a Travelodge in Ealing Broadway, where he had booked to stay for five nights.

The next morning he travelled to Manchester Piccadilly station by train from London Euston.

It has never been established how Lytton then travelled from the station to the Clarence Pub, in the village of Greenfield, near Saddleworth Moor.

While there he asked locals for “directions to the top of the mountain”.

Apart from passing two RSPB members later that day, he was never seen alive again.

How did David Lytton die?

Speaking at the inquest into his death, the pathologist said that she had never come across a case of strychnine poisoning in her career but that “on the balance of probability” that was the cause of death, the Manchester Evening News reported. 

Police ruled out suspicious circumstances.

The BBC reported that the coroner said he could not be sure of Lytton’s “intention”.

He said: “Whilst accepting he died of his own hand, the only appropriate conclusion I can reach is an open conclusion.”

He said that a series of “fundamental questions remain unanswered”.

Mystery of the Man on the Moor is on tonight at 10pm on Channel 4