Wiganer in Australia death mystery

A photo of the man believed to be Jon Pritchard
A photo of the man believed to be Jon Pritchard

A mystery man who was found dead in an Australian apartment is believed to be a Wiganer.

Police launched an appeal for information last year after the discovery of the body in Manly near Sydney as the man, known as Paul Lachlan to his close friends, had no passport, bank accounts, credit cards or government documents.

A photo of Paul Lachlan sent out by Australian police

A photo of Paul Lachlan sent out by Australian police

However, the mystery of his identity appears to be almost over after an ex-partner came forward and told the Australian police the man was Wiganer Jon Pritchard.

Since the story appeared on social media several Wiganers have also taken to Facebook to identify him and pay tribute, saying he went to St John Fisher High School and had family in Beech Hill.

Richard Martin told Australian media he had met Mr Pritchard while they both worked as chefs in the UK and travelled to Australia in 1995, but the relationship didn’t work out.

Mr Martin said he saw the appeal for information on Facebook and instantly recognised a photo sent out by the police.

A British woman is also currently being DNA tested after claiming to be Mr Lachlan’s sister. She said she lost contact with her brother when he went abroad aged 19 and said he was born in 1968.

This is consistent with the idea established during the investigation that the man was aged between 45 and 47 when he died. There are no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death.

Police have so far declined to comment on Mr Martin’s story or any information given by the woman.

Mr Lachlan’s friends in Sydney have spoken to local media about their shock at the apparent double life he was living, saying they thought he was in touch with family on a regular basis and frequently mentioned his niece in conversation.

They described him as gentle and caring as well as trustworthy and friendly.

One friend, who was named only as Rochelle, told the Australian media: “He was so loveable and so nice, he just had that real English charm.”

The news the mysterious man may be Mr Pritchard sparked a number of tributes and memories from Wiganers on Facebook.

Paul Corcoran wrote: “Was in my year at school. Jon Pritchard went to St John Fisher High School and had a few family if I remember brothers and sisters as well used to live in Beech Hill.”