Questions still unanswered as identity of Saddleworth moors man is revealed

THE REASON why David Lytton, aka ‘Neil Dovestone’, travelled to Saddleworth may never be known.

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A sketch released by police during the search for the man’s identity

It ends a 13-month search to identify the mystery pensioner found dead on lonely Chew Track in Greenfield on December 12, 2015.

But police say they remain baffled as to why the local beauty spot proved his final resting place.

A final coroner’s inquest on March 14, 2017 in Heywood could reveal more pieces of the jigsaw.

For now, lead detective John Coleman, based in Oldham, is just relieved the case which has fascinated the world has been partially solved.

DS Coleman and colleague DC Kelly Bragg conducted a press conference at GMP Headquarters at Central Park, Newton Heath to give further details to the media, including the Saddleworth Independent.

DS Coleman confirmed Mr Lytton, who would now be 68, had lived in Pakistan for more than seven years prior to his death and the breakthrough came when he returned to the UK from Lahore where he had been living.

“We looked at a time frame from December 8 to the time we identified him on CCTV which as the 11th,” explained DS Coleman.

DS Coleman and DC Bragg at the press conference

“From the manifest information we received on planes coming into the UK from Pakistan, we got a potential match to the profile on the anniversary of his death.

“The name was given to the passport authorities who provided us with an image. Unfortunately, the image was of a 10-year-old picture so we contacted colleagues in the National Crime Agency.

“They conducted enquiries on our behalf in Lahore which was the airport he travelled out of. And we managed to get pictures of David on the day he travelled.

“Having the updated images, the CCTV imagery, the artists’ impression, we were happy with the identification.

“But because the coroner is involved we needed to positively identify David and to do that there have been extensive enquiries with the genealogy to identify family members and next of kin.

“Having identified a relevant family member, we have managed to recover a comparison DNA sample which was checked against the sample from ‘Neil Dovestone’. And there was a positive identification.

“It was the first the family knew. David had lived in Pakistan since 2006 after having retired in 2005.

“We know he travelled on October 6, 2006 to Lahore and since that time the majority of his time has been spent in Pakistan as a retired person.

“We have put together a lifestyle. We have learned a lot about him. We have learned a lot about his movement, we have learned a lot about his history.

“But we can’t go into any further detail until the coroners’ hearing is concluded on March 14.

“We may have an understanding of why he left Pakistan when he has but with regard to Dovestone and why that day, we can’t identify a reason at this stage.

“We are conducting other enquires with friends and acquaintances which we have identified. But at this time we are not able to say why Dovestone.

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Dovestone Reservoir at Greenfield where the body of the man was found (Picture by Carl Royle)

“We don’t believe there is a spouse or any children. I can’t go into detail of what family members we have identified.”

DC Kelly Bragg added: “We know he was a bit of a loner. We know he had friends but he liked his own company.”

DS Coleman continued: “He appeared to compartmentalise his life. We have identified family and friends but friends would not know other friends. He kept people separate.”

Mr Lytton died of strychnine poisoning and DS Coleman added: “We know he took it to the moors in the small plastic bottle because there were traces inside.

“Strychnine is a regulated drug in the UK and across Europe. However, in Pakistan strychnine is widely used but we have not managed to identify specifically where the drug originated from.”

Detectives remain baffled as to how he travelled from Manchester Piccadilly to Greenfield and to the Clarence Hotel where he spoke briefly with landlord Mel Robinson.

“We spoke to the main managers of the Licensing Authorities for taxis in Manchester area and they put out a release for us to try and identify the private hire or Black Cab driver but no success.

“There are still outstanding enquiries which are being conducted in Pakistan. We are trying to put together a picture of his life.

“We have his early life in the UK, then we have his adult life and then we have the life he had in Pakistan.

“We are trying to put a picture together for the Coroner and remaining family in the UK.”

Grainy CCTV of the man at the train station used in the hunt for his identity

DS Coleman concluded: “I don’t think there was a deliberate intention to cause such interest in his death.

“But I do believe he did take positive action to not be in certain possession of items of property that everyone carries: a wallet, a credit card, a mobile phone.

“He is not buried as yet. There will be a funeral shortly but that is down to the Coroner. After instructions with the family, the Coroner will make that decision.”

The identification comes after a 13-month search that has gone across the globe in the hunt to discover the identity of the man.

It included speaking to Pakistani orthopaedic surgeons about a distinctive procedure to insert a mid-femur titanium plate onto the pensioner’s left thigh bone.

They also looked at ground breaking isotopic analysis that could help determine where ‘Neil’ lived most of his life as well as DNA comparisons to families of missing persons.


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