May 25, 2018

‘A lovely man’: The woman who dated the Man on the Moor

neeeOn 12 December 2015 a man’s body was found lying on the ground on Saddleworth Moor. He had died from poisoning.
He became known as the Body on the Moor. And the struggle to identify him became one of the strangest mysteries.
No mobile, no identification of any kind. No family or friends came forward.
One of the few people with any insight into the puzzle behind the man’s death was Maureen Toogood.
Maureen had a relationship with a man starting in the late 1960s. They didn’t marry and she ended up marrying someone else but they stayed friends. For 40 years they saw each other regularly – she helped him in his garden and around the house.
Then in 2006 he simply vanished from Maureen’s life – upped sticks and left the country.
Find out more
All of the interviews here are taken from the new episode of the World at One’s Body on the Moor podcast series by Jon Manel.
Maureen believed he had sold his home and emigrated to California.
The first she heard was when she received a call from his neighbour. She was told he was going to the US the following day.
“I was very hurt by this,” she says. She was unable to contact him because his phone had been disconnected. Since then, she says, she has thought about him often.
Eleven years later she got another phone call. This time from the police.
They had finally identified the body on the moor. They were calling because it was David Lytton, her friend.
They knew little of his life and Maureen was able to fill in some of the gaps.
Before he left in 2006, David had lived an apparently unremarkable life in south-west London, working as a croupier, a taxi controller for a mini-cab company, a baker and a train driver for the London Underground.
Maureen says she met David in 1968. She was suffering from flu at the time but had ventured out to Finchley in north London to buy a stereo. It was the Last Night of the Proms and she wanted to enjoy listening to it at home.
“I didn’t feel very well. I was on my knees, and I was collapsing. There was a young man who went ‘Oh, hang on, hang on I’ll come over,'” she remembers.
“He walked home to my flat and he made me a nice cup of tea. We hit it off. He made me some toast – I hadn’t had any breakfast and he stayed with me until my flatmates came home.
The following day, she says, he was back on her doorstep.
“‘Hello, do you remember me?’ he said. And he kept coming round every day. He didn’t leave me at all. We would even meet in the launderette round the corner and do our washing together.”
She describes him as a gentleman who liked to take care of her. He treated her to haircuts in fashionable Mayfair, where he was working as a croupier.
But, although he was happy to treat his girlfriend, there were few extravagances for himself.
His house in Streatham was sparsely decorated. There was no bed, just a piece of foam and a three-piece suite from a second-hand shop. Two items do stand out, though. Korans, one for upstairs and one for downstairs, she says.
There was nothing in the kitchen – no fridge, no kettle, no food.
“He said he wasn’t entitled to comforts. Where he got that I don’t know,” she says.
The police went on to discover that David ate all his meals at the same local vegetarian restaurant at the same time each night.
He dressed smartly and was very particular and precise. Maureen says she could have predicted the clothes that he would be wearing the morning he was found: “M&S socks, white Jockey underwear, white vest, a singlet, cord trousers – navy blue, and round-neck sweater and an old mac that he probably had 30 or 40 years.”
His luxury was a pair of shoes made by the Swiss designer Bally.
David grew up in the north London suburb of Finchley. He was born David Keith Lautenberg on 21 April, 1948 to Sylvia and Hyman Lautenberg. He was Jewish, his family having originally come to Britain fleeing from Europe. At some time, his immediate family changed their name from Lautenberg. He changed his name to David Lytton in 1986.
Maureen and David met not long after he left Leeds University. He had gone to study psychology and sociology but, according to the police, he suffered from hypothyroidism and found it difficult to sleep at night. Instead, he slept during the day and didn’t get the grades he wanted. When he returned to London he fell out with his family and moved out of his home.
Maureen describes David as a “strange” man with some “quirky ways”. “But I did like him,” she says. “He was very particular, very precise and a gentleman. He was a lovely, lovely man.”
He didn’t have any hobbies or particular interests that she knew of. But the police have discovered that David had an interest in different religions, including Buddhism and Islam.
His last job was as a driver for the London Underground, one which he was well-suited to, says Maureen. “He enjoyed that – he liked his own company. He was a loner.”
Maureen and David had a pregnancy which ended in miscarriage. She says he changed greatly after that, he became withdrawn and quiet.
Unbeknown to Maureen, David put his house up for sale in 2005. It sold on 4 October 2006, and he left for Pakistan on 6 October – not California as Maureen had mysteriously been told.
His departure, it seems, was part of a plan – not a sudden disappearance.

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