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Body on moor could be missing grandfather Hugh Toner

By Allan Preston

Published 29/01/2016

Mystery: Hugh Toner
Mystery: Hugh Toner

Police are investigating claims that a body found on Saddleworth Moor in England could be that of a missing grandfather from Northern Ireland not seen for more than 20 years.

An unidentified body of a man was discovered last December on the desolate moor, outside Manchester.

Manchester Police were unable to identify him as the only documents on his person were train tickets and money.

It is now suspected that it could be Newry man Hugh Toner, who went missing from Craigavon Hospital on February 7, 1994.

It is believed the man had travelled more than 200 miles from London to Manchester, before dying on the moor during a storm on top of a hill.

Greater Manchester Police says it is "keeping an open mind" on the man's identity.

Detective Sergeant John Coleman said "many possible avenues" were being investigated, "one of which is missing persons".

DNA samples have been requested by police from Mr Toner's family.

"There is a resemblance between him and the man whose death we are currently investigating," said Mr Coleman.

"That sample will allow us to either eliminate him from our enquiries or identify him."

Cathal Toner, a grandson of Hugh (who would now be 78), said a family member had contacted Manchester Police after seeing the appeal.

"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 has 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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