Who Is This Man and Why Did He Drink Strychnine?

A titanium plate in the man's leg may break the case
By Luke Roney,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 11, 2016 1:50 PM CDT
Who Is This Man and Why Did He Drink Strychnine?
Hospital workers dubbed the identified man "Neil Dovestone."   (Greater manchester Police)

A cyclist riding in a nature area near Manchester, England, on Dec. 12 saw a man who looked to be about 70 lying on a patch of grass, as if he was resting. In truth, he was dead. In a lengthy, visually stunning BBC article, Jon Manel explores the case of the man, whose identity remains a mystery six months on. There was no wallet; missing persons reports provided no clue; and every lead that has been chased down only serves to tinge the case with a deeper sense of mystery. The man's manner of death was strychnine poisoning (presumed to be intentional), which is "very unusual," per a forensic toxicologist. The rat poison is banned in the UK, but still available in some countries, including Pakistan. The empty glass container that held the poison was on the man's person, along with a cardboard box with writing in English and Urdu.

The writing referenced the container's original contents, thyroxine sodium, and authorities were able to confirm the thyroid drug had been manufactured in Pakistan. It's one of two links to the country: An autopsy found that that a serious injury to the man's left leg was repaired with a titanium plate exclusively used by a dozen hospitals in Pakistan. The lead detective on the case tells the Guardian there have been perhaps 1,750 left-leg surgeries done on male patients in the country using the plate. The man had train tickets—including an unused return to London—on him, and authorities have been able to trace his journey from central London to Manchester with the help of surveillance footage. But the information has done little to aid the case. Read the whole fascinating story here. (The identity of this man who killed himself in 2001 remains a mystery.)

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