Artist’s Impression – BBC website
On Saturday 12th December 2015 at 10.47am, a cyclist found the body. It was torrential rain and cold, but a man was lying on the path of the Chew Track from Dove Stone in the Peak District National Park. He wasn’t dressed for the climb or the weather, in corduroy trousers, slip on shoes and a jacket. He appeared to be about seventy years old. The man lay parallel to the path, his head facing uphill, his legs straight downhill. He looked like he was resting.
He wasn’t and he had died a painful death.
He appeared to have taken the poison himself and then lain down to die.
Strychnine poisoning is an unusual way to kill yourself in modern Britain. It causes convulsions followed by death by asphyxiation. Dr Hilary Hammett described it as “in the top ten of unpleasant poisons in terms of ways to die” (BBC News). It was Agatha Christie’s weapon of choice in her debut mystery novel and was described by the protagonist of The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells as "the devil...It's the palaeolithic in a bottle.”
Greater Manchester detectives have not been able to ascertain the identity of the dead man who travelled by train from London to Saddleworth Moor, a distance of more than 300km. There are clear images of him on the CCTV at Piccadilly Station in Manchester, wearing the same clothes his body was found in. It is thought that the man then walked out to the moor and asked the landlord at the local pub, The Clarence Pub, Melvin Robinson, for directions to the top of the mountain. The landlord told him ‘there’s not enough daylight for him to get there and back today. He just thanked me and asked me again for the directions, which I repeated to him. And he just set off.”
He was calm, clear. Not suicidal.
He had no ID. Just £130 in £10 notes and return train tickets, plus the container for the strychnine.
He is still unidentified , and now hopes are resting on the serial number on a titanium plate in his leg and the last reports are that this takes the investigation to a hospital in Pakistan.
The big question, apart from who is he, is why would anybody travel 200 miles from London to die? Maybe if they find out who he is, they might find out why he did it.
As everybody knows, Saddleworth Moor is closely linked with death and tragedy and this is yet one more to add to the list. Reports say that this unidentified body is the 42nd unidentified body found in the UK in 2015 and that is an appalling statistic. .
The Irish man, missing for twenty years.
It was rumored that the body might be that of man from Northern Ireland who has been missing since he discharged himself from a County Armagh hospital over twenty years ago but DNA comparison with the man’s son have ruled him out.
Similarly, it was suggested the body might be that of Stephen Evans who survived a plane crash at the beauty spot in 1949 when he was a child. He was the sole survivor of the crash that claimed 24 lives…..but then Professor Stephen Evans, as he is now, came forward to rule out that theory.
And the mystery goes on….
Caro Ramsay 24th June 2016