David Lytton

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David Lytton (21 April 1948 – 11 or 12 December 2015), formerly known as David Keith Lautenberg and after the discovery of his body by the placeholder name Neil Dovestone, was a previously unidentified Jewish[1] man found dead on Saddleworth Moor, in the South Pennines of Northern England on 12 December 2015.[2][3] The placeholder name was reportedly devised by mortuary attendants at Royal Oldham Hospital,[4] with reference to the location the body was found near Dovestone Reservoir, on an asphalt track in the Chew Valley.

Mystery body[edit]

The man later identified as Lytton died from a lethal dose of strychnine, and is believed by police to have committed suicide.[5] He was estimated to be between 65 and 75 years old and was almost 6 feet (1.8 m) tall, with a thin build; he was balding with grey hair and brown eyes.

Signs that the man had been in Pakistan not long before his death included a 10-centimetre (3.9 in) titanium surgical plate, only available legally in Pakistan, attached to his left femur near the hip, and a container used to carry the strychnine, originally used for a common medication (thyroxine), had a printed label with text in English and Urdu.[5] The man was not known to the authorities in Pakistan and his fingerprints did not match any on record in Pakistan, the UK or other countries. No evidence linking him to missing persons cases was found.[2]

Wimberry Stones also known as "Indian's Head", where the body was found.

At 9:04 am on 11 December the unidentified man travelled by London Underground train from Ealing Broadway station to Euston station in London and then to Manchester Piccadilly.[5] He walked to the moor on the afternoon of 11 December, from Greenfield, where he made enquiries at the Clarence pub about walking to Wimberry Stones. He was seen alive shortly after sunset (3:59 pm), by two Royal Society for the Protection of Birds staff, near the site at which his body was found the following day.[5]

Wimberry Stones is a rock feature known locally as "Indian's Head" overlooking the reservoir. It was the site of a fatal aeroplane crash in 1949. Investigating detectives surmised the man may have been Stephen Evans, a survivor of the crash but it was discounted after the BBC worked out, based on the 1949 report and the police statement, that he worked at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and contacted him. He then contacted Greater Manchester Police to confirm he was still alive.[6]


In January 2017 the body was identified as 67-year-old David Lytton, who had flown into Heathrow Airport from Lahore in Pakistan on 10 December 2015. He was identified from photographs from a passenger list and was picked up on CCTV in London. Greater Manchester Police reported that his identity had been confirmed as a result of a DNA match with a relative and said that Lytton "was a bit of a loner" and that "he liked his own company". His family was informed and a full inquest was scheduled for 14 March 2017.[7]

On 31 January 2017 The Times reported that Lytton had lived in Streatham, south London, from the 1980s until he retired to Pakistan in 2006. Former neighbours said he was a croupier who had once worked as a train driver for London Underground and after being made redundant from the casino had taken in lodgers, one of whom was of Pakistani appearance.[8] The article reproduced personal information from Lytton's passport, showing a London birthplace and a birth date of 21 April 1948, but no birth of that name had been registered at that time, introducing the possibility that Lytton had been adopted or changed his name. The passport was issued on 8 September 2006 and would expire on 8 September 2016. The article reported that Lytton had arrived in Lahore on 6 October 2006, leaving almost six months later for Dubai. He returned to Lahore after four days, on 31 March 2007. The following November he left again, but there was no record of his returning.[8]

The Guardian on 4 February 2017 reported that Lytton's long-term girlfriend in Streatham had helped him through bouts of depression, that he had a brother and had changed his surname following a family feud.[9] On 9 February The Guardian gave his former name as David Lautenberg and revealed that he had family living in England. Lytton’s brother now lives in north London.[10] His parents were also identified as Sylvia and Hyman Lautenberg.[10] His mother's family was of Jewish descent originally from Poland and came to England around 1901, before living near the east London area.[10]


  1. ^ https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-39255114
  2. ^ a b Al-Othman, Hannah (25 August 2016). "Inquest into death of 'mystery man' found dead at beauty spot is put on hold after police fail to make progress". Evening Standard. Retrieved 15 November 2016. 
  3. ^ Baxter, Trevor (6 September 2016). "Mystery case of 'man on the moors'". Saddleworth Independent. Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  4. ^ Abbi, Beth (3 February 2016). "Dovestone reservoir death riddle man is not grandad Hugh Toner who vanished 20 years ago". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  5. ^ a b c d Manel, Jon. "Body on the Moor". BBC News. Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  6. ^ "Police investigating Greenfield moors death mystery go global for answers" "Cops have ruled out that the smart dressed man could be one of two child survivors as one, Michael Prestwich, later died in a train accident while Stephen Evans has contacted police this week." http://saddind.co.uk/18580-2/ {accessed March 8th 2017}
  7. ^ "Saddleworth Moor mystery body identified". BBC News. Retrieved 26 January 2017. 
  8. ^ a b Tomlinson, Hugh and Simpson, John: "Saddleworth Moor's mystery man died as quietly as he lived", The Times, 31 January 2017, p 21
  9. ^ Parveen, Nazia (4 February 2017). "Mystery of Saddleworth Moor: video shows 'loner' in a different light". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 February 2017. 
  10. ^ a b c Parveen, Nazia; Gayle, Damien (9 February 2017). "Saddleworth Moor mystery man changed name after family feud". Retrieved 10 February 2017. 

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