Northern Ireland

Police probe if body found on Saddleworth Moor is missing Newry man

Hugh Toner Image copyright Cathal Toner
Image caption Hugh Toner, from Newry, disappeared from Craigavon Area Hospital in February 1994

Police in Manchester are investigating if a body found on Saddleworth Moor is that of a missing Northern Ireland man.

The unidentified man was discovered lying on the moor in the north of England last December.

Greater Manchester Police believe he could be Hugh Toner, from Newry, who disappeared from Craigavon Area Hospital in 1994.

His family has provided a DNA sample to try to establish if it is him.

Police in Greater Manchester have spent six weeks investigating the death of the pensioner-aged man who travelled more than 200 miles from London to Saddleworth Moor and died during treacherous conditions.

He was not carrying any identification on him, just cash and train tickets.

Police said they were keeping an "open mind" on the identity of the deceased man.

Det Sgt John Coleman said police were investigating "many possible avenues, one of which is missing persons".

Image copyright Cathal Toner
Image caption Greater Manchester Police have requested DNA samples from Hugh Toner's family

"With that in mind we have requested DNA samples from the family of Mr Hugh Toner," he said.

"There is a resemblance between him and the man whose death we are currently investigating and that sample will allow us to either eliminate him from our enquiries or identify him."

A grandson of Hugh Toner, Cathal Toner, said a family member had seen the appeal and contacted Greater Manchester Police.

"No-one has come forward about this man and with the case of my grandfather, no-one knows what happened to him," he said.

"We would like to appeal to anyone who knows what happened to come forward.

"If someone helped him leave, it's 22 years later, there's no room for bitterness or resentment, we just want to find out what happened.

"My grandfather lived in England for a while and has links with Swindon and Bath."

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