22 April 2016
I looked back in my daily journal this morning. The date was 18th February 2009 when I began my search for a killer. I can’t believe the lengths I went to over the next seven years to acquire scraps of information. Scraps that eventually formed a whole….my new true crime book that is to be published in 10 days time. The email that day in February was from a weatherman whom I used to hear occasionally on BBC Radio Surrey. Ian Currie knows everything there is to know about the weather. I’d emailed him to pick his brain about the weather in Amersham in Buckinghamshire on the 9th and 10th November 1966! Some background research about weather conditions half a century ago now. It was on 9th November 1966 that Dr Helen Davidson was brutally attacked and murdered in woodland a few miles from Amersham. Her killer was never found.
I could almost hear Ian’s recognisable BBC voice in his reply to my email. He wrote:
“I do not think the weather was too outstanding with the temperature around 7C, cloudy and feeling chilly in moderate north east wind on the 9th. I think there was more in the way of sunshine on the 10th after an overnight frost……”
Two days later another email arrived in my inbox. This time it was from the RSPB. I’d asked an executive there about birds in Hodgemoor Wood, where Dr Davidson’s body was found on 10th November 1966. He was very keen to point out in a note, that ‘there would not have been red kites in the Chilterns – now there are and it is an area that is famous for its kites, but these are from a more recent introduction project, so please avoid any mention in the 1960s!’ I certainly wanted to get my 1960s bird facts correct.
By 29th March 2009, in my journal, I was thinking about the way in which Helen Davidson had been battered to death, her killer pushing her eyes into her skull, then grinding her head down into the earth with a shod foot.
I happened to pop into the living room where the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race was on the tv. I wrote, “I couldn’t believe what I was hearing when they interviewed one of the Oxford crew. He was talking about visualisation. It made me sick. He said they would be visualising Cambridge faces pushed down in the ground, gaining complete control over them – complete domination. That’s not how I think visualisation should be. His words were sick, and I immediately thought of Dr Davidson’s sick killer. He, by his action of grinding the doctor’s head into the ground, wanted to dominate her. A tv commentator then said there are two ways of visualisation and that team member’s description was not how he would be visualising. He said he’d be visualising winning… what it feels like. How many million people would have listened to that Oxford crew member? Who has been teaching them this sort of mind game?”