Reporter: Stuart Littleford – Story sponsored by Olympic Construction Ltd www.olympic-construction.co.uk
A coroner recorded an open verdict on the death of David Lytton yesterday, a man who had travelled from London to Saddleworth walked up a desolate track leading to Indian’s Head in Greenfield and then took rat poison.
Mr Lytton’s body was discovered fully clothed on a remote track near the summit of Indian’s Head on December 12, 2015.
A massive police investigation was started that took detectives across the world in a hunt for clues as to his identity, which remained unknown for around13 months.
Simon Nelson, senior coroner for Greater Manchester North, said a series of ‘fundamental questions remain unanswered’ over Mr Lytton’s death. His family say they will never know his true intentions.
Mr Lytton was a former Underground train driver, 67 years old and from London, he flew 4,000 miles from his adopted home of Pakistan on December 10, 2015.
After meeting up with a friend he booked into a hotel for five days in the capital then paid for a return train ticket to Manchester.
He travelled to the Clarence Pub in Greenfield, asked the landlord the way to ‘the top of the mountain’ and wandered off into the dark to take strychnine.
He was carrying £130 in cash but had no identification.
Mr Lytton had been in a relationship for more than 30 years with a woman, but did not even tell her he was moving to Pakistan in 2006 and simply left.
He was described as a ‘shy and private’ character by witnesses and a highly intelligent man who ‘compartmentalised’ his life and friendships.
One witness described his flat as being ‘devoid of furniture’ and said he usually preferred to eat out at cafes and food markets and slept on a foam mat rather than a bed.
Coroner Mr Nelson said he was satisfied there was no third party involvement in Mr Lytton’s death and said he had taken the poison ‘by his own hand’.
But he added that there was no way of knowing his intention.
Mr Lytton’s brother Jeremy Lawton, 64, said after the inquest he had been ‘staggered’ when police contacted him to say they had been trying to identify him for a year.
Though he said his brother had no links to Dovestone, Mr Lawton hypothesised that the ‘very English’ scenery would have appealed to him after a decade in Pakistan.
“David was an individual person and I think he wanted to go up there because he could, because he could travel anywhere he wanted to,” he said.
Mr Lawton said his brother left the family home after a ‘big argument’ and never came back, keeping everyone ‘at arms’ length’.
But he insisted that Mr Lytton was not suicidal, adding: “He would not have come back all the way from Pakistan, got on a plane, paid for it, got off at Heathrow, paid for a hotel for five nights, bought a return ticket to Manchester to come and take his own life.”
Detective Sergeant John Coleman, of GMP’s Oldham borough, told Saddleworth News: “This inquest brings a conclusion to the near 15 month investigation to identify the man who was found close to Dovestone Reservoir on 12 December 2015.
“The man, who we now know to be David Lytton, was originally from London but had been living in Pakistan since October 2006 and had returned to the UK two days before he died.
“This investigation is like nothing I have ever experienced during my time as a police officer and our enquiries quite literally took us across the globe in our attempts to solve the mystery of the man on the moor.
“Every line of enquiry seemed to lead to a dead end and just as we started to think that the investigation was going to go unsolved, we received a break through which changed everything. “As a result of this we were able to confirm his true identity which meant we were finally able to bring closure to his loved ones and let them lay him to rest.”