On a chilly Friday in December 2015, a smartly dressed elderly gentleman set off on a 200-mile journey from west London to Saddleworth Moor, in the Pennines.

The following afternoon he stopped in at a picturesque pub called The Clarence and, pointing to Indian’s Head, a 1,500ft peak above Dovestone reservoir, asked the landlord, “How do you get to the top of that mountain?”

The landlord expressed some concern that there wasn’t enough time to get to the peak and back by sunset, but the mystery man set off anyway, despite the high winds and lashing rain.

He was wearing a light raincoat and black slip-on shoes entirely inappropriate for hill walking, especially given the harsh conditions. Witnesses reported seeing the man about a mile up the hill at around 4.30pm.

And that was the last time he was seen alive.

The following day his body was discovered lying peacefully on a track close to the summit of Indian’s Head. There was no sign of a struggle, and no injuries could be observed.

The man was carrying no credit cards - not even a wallet - although he had £130 in ten pound notes in his pocket. There were no distinguishing labels or marks on his clothes. A month later, local police have no idea who the man was, or why he made his strange pilgrimage to Saddleworth Moor.

 

Oldham CID sergeant John Coleman told the Manchester Evening News: “I’ve been doing this job for a long, long time and I have never known anything like it.

"It’s sad really. There might be family who don’t know he’s dead.

“Maybe he lived in the area as a younger man and was revisiting. What drew him to the area is another line of enquiry.”

The most popular theory at present is that the man was in some way connected to a 1949 plane crash on the mountain, which claimed 24 lives. A Douglas DC-3 Dakota was en route from Belfast to Manchester when it ploughed into Indian’s Head.

DS Coleman told the Sun: "We have opened the files on the crashed DC-3 and are examining the names of all those who survived and died.

"The unidentified man is of an age that ties in with the crash and could be related to someone on it.”
Of the two young boys who were on the flight at the time, one died in a later unrelated accident and the whereabouts of the other – Stephen Evans - are unknown. Stephen was 5 at the time of the crash, making him about 72 today.

One other theory is that the dead man had some family connection to the victims of the Moors murderers. The peak overlooks the moor where murderers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley buried their victims in the Sixties.

Despite a six-week investigation no one has come forward to identify the man. DC Nichola Chapman, from Greater Manchester Police, told the Daily Mirror: “It is a very unusual set of circumstances for an adult male to be found with no identifiable features or possessions.

“Somewhere there’s family members, loved ones or friends who either do not know he’s missing or are searching to find him.
“For him not to be missed by someone since December 12 is extremely unusual.”
 

Anyone with information is asked to contact Greater Manchester Police on 0161 856 8972 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.