Mystery surrounds pensioner found dead in England from poisoning

Dovestone Reservoir, near where the man's body was found
Dovestone Reservoir, near where the man's body was found

A mystery man found dead on moorland had suffered strychnine poisoning.

The pensioner was discovered at a beauty spot near Oldham in December with no signs of a struggle or fall and detectives are still unable to identify him.

The white man aged between 65 and 75, was found fully clothed by a cyclist on December 12 near a hill known as the Indian's Head, an outcrop near the top of Dovestone Reservoir.

Theories have included the pensioner suffering a serious illness and needing to "get some peace" at the beauty spot, or having a connection to a 1949 plane crash near where he was found.

Twenty four people were killed in the accident but two children survived - two-year-old Michael Prestwich who died 10 years later, and five-year-old Stephen Evans.

Greater Manchester Police have confirmed the unidentified pensioner had strychnine in his system - a highly toxic substance used in rat poison.

The mystery man arrived at Ealing Broadway in London just after 9am on December 11. He is next picked up by CCTV at 9.50am at Euston buying an £81 return ticket to Manchester Piccadilly in cash, arriving at 12.07pm.

On arrival he spent 53 minutes wandering around the train station before heading into Manchester city centre.

The next sighting is at the Clarence Pub in Greenfield, Saddleworth, where he asked the landlord how he got to the top of the hill, but he was not wearing walking clothes. He had a "northern" but not local accent.

Later that day around 4.30pm, in darkness, a motorist spotted him near to where he was found the day after, around three quarters of the way up to the top of the hill.

When he was found he had three train tickets, including a return to London Euston, and £130 in £10 notes in his pocket, but no mobile phone or identifying documents.

Police describe him as white, of slim build, with a receding hairline with grey hair to the side and back. He had a large nose which may have been previously broken, and was clean shaven.

He wore a brown heavy jacket, blue jumper, white long-sleeve shirt, blue corduroy trousers and black slip-on shoes.

Anyone with information should phone police on 0161 856 8972 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.