The mystery of an unknown man who was found dead on a moor with poison in his body more than a year ago has finally been solved.
The man, dubbed Neil Dovestones in reference to the area on Saddleworth Moor where he was found, has been identified as David Lytton.
Greater Manchester Police said on Thursday that Lytton’s identity was confirmed by senior coroner for Oldham, Simon Nelson, after more than a year of investigations and appeals.
The 67-year-old, from London, was found dead on 12 December 2015 on the Chew track leading from Dovestones Reservoir boating lake to Indians Head, on the moor in the Pennines.
Lytton was found smartly dressed, carrying only three train tickets and £130 in cash.
He had been poisoned with strychnine which he may have administered himself, police said.
Lytton was found to have a 10cm plate in his left leg, inserted between 2001 and 2015, which indicated he underwent the operation in Pakistan.
A container of medicine found on his body was also linked to Pakistan, the Press Association reported.
Lytton was identified in CCTV at Ealing Broadway station in London and Manchester Piccadilly station.
The day before he had travelled by train from London to Manchester and later went into The Clarence pub in Greenfield, Saddleworth, where he asked the landlord the way to “the top of the mountain”.
The coroner said Lytton’s name had been confirmed after detectives discovered he had travelled from Lahore, Pakistan, to the UK two days before his death.
An inquest in Heywood was told on Thursday that extensive police inquiries led to detectives concentrating on flight data from Pakistan to London.
Manchester North Coroner Simon Nelson Nelson said he and the investigating officer, Detective Sergeant John Coleman, were “anxious” that the information on Lytton’s identity be made public “without delay”, but he added: “There are other areas of inquiry that need to be pursued and they are being pursued in order that I can fulfil my statutory obligations and conclude my inquest in due course.
“I am extremely anxious that the surviving members of the deceased’s family be left in peace as such and can come to terms with their grievous loss in the days, weeks and months that follow, and they not be subjected to any unnecessary intrusion.”
A number of theories about Lytton’s identity had been discounted, including speculation that he had survived a plane crash in 1949 near Indian’s Head - the outcrop where he was discovered by a cyclist - that killed 24 people, and may have made a pilgrimage to the site.
Also a man from Northern Ireland contacted police to say the released image of the mystery man bore a resemblance to his father who had gone missing more than 20 years before. DNA checks later ruled him out.
A full inquest will be held at Rochdale Coroners Court on 14 March.