THE LATEST tantalizing clue in an international hunt to solve the mystery of a dead man found on Saddleworth moor is a 10cm strip of titanium.
The piece of metal – a support for a break – was discovered screwed into the dead man‘s left femur in a further examination of the body.
The drama first unfolded when the man, believed to be in his 60s-70s, was tracked on CCTV travelling from Ealing Broadway to London Euston where he bought a return ticket to Manchester Piccadilly station on Friday, December 11.
He was wearing a heavy brown jacket, blue jumper, white long-sleeved open necked shirt, blue corduroy trousers and polished, black slip-on size nine shoes.
He has blue eyes and his hair was grey and although he was bald on the top of his head he had hair to the rear of his head and to just above the ears on the sides of his head.
CCTV footage shows him leaving Piccadilly station but the trail goes cold until he walks into The Clarence, a popular pub in Greenfield, and asks directions “to the top of the mountain.”
He was shown a route to the moor but tragically found dead the following day on a grassy lay-by just off a rock-strewn path near Rob Rocks.
He carried no means of identification but had £130 in £10 notes in his pocket, the three rail tickets and an empty bottle of thyroid tablets with instructions in English and Arabic.
But police say the man’s actual cause of death will not be known until the results of toxicology reports have been interpreted and sent for the attention of coroner.
Det Sgt John Coleman, from Oldham CID, is heading a team working to identify the man who was found laying face up on the lonely track from Chew Reservoir on December 12.
He said: “We have established the gentleman sustained a significant injury between 2001 and 2015.
“The piece of metal was fitted to his left femur sometime between those dates in Pakistan – but it does not mean he was Pakistani,” he stressed.
“I am still awaiting hospital details from Treu Dynamic, the specialist company who supplied the metal, and then I will be speaking to the Pakistan Health Authorities and the British Consulate in Pakistan.”
The piece of metal bore Treu Dynamics logo and a symbol ‘130 degrees’, showing the angle the metal was placed into the hip.
The enormity of the police task was emphasised when Sgt Coleman revealed the company supply up to 500 titanium plates a year to 15 hospitals across the country.
“That would add up to approximately 105,000 patients over 14 years,” he explained.
“And even if we narrow it down by gender, ethnicity, patient age and the actual positioning of the plate on the man’s left femur we are still left with at least 25,000 possible sources.
“We are now focusing our inquiries to see if the man was a Pakistani national, a man with dual nationality visiting the country, a health tourist or a British National visiting or working in the country in those 14 years.”
Since the discovery of the body Sgt Coleman’s team and offers from the Met have carried out exhaustive nationwide checks in a bid to establish the dead man’s identity and explore theories for him visiting the moor.
Suggestions that he was a survivor or relative of a survivor of a plane crash in Saddleworth decades ago have been investigated and ruled out by police.
They have circulated his picture to every GP in Britain and contacted Interpol to extend inquiries across Europe.
Anyone with information should contact the police on: 0161 872 5050.