PARALLELS

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23 April 2016

I had discovered a parallel in my life: between the need, fourteen years ago, to get to the truth about Ruth Ellis, the last woman in the UK to be hanged and about whom I was writing a book, and the need to find the murderer in a cold case from nearly half a century ago of Dr Helen Davidson, a much-loved Buckinghamshire GP. It is this need , this search for truth, that was consuming me again. This time I was about to embark on a seven year journey…another search for a killer.

During those seven years people in the Buckinghamshire town of Amersham, an army of them, helped me. One person knew one thing…another knew something else. With their help I pieced together the story of Dr Helen Davidson, the victim of a random killing, like a jigsaw… except it was a jigsaw with no picture on the outside of the box.

And during those seven years it was important for me to track my journey. Not just in ever-thickening lever arch files of data tucked away in chronological order (the only way I could think of collating the stuff that I was accumulating each day) but also writing from the heart in my daily journal. I didn’t just want to remember facts and timings, I wanted to keep my memory going – not remembering is one of those nightmare situations – and daily journalling (finding light and shade about my journey) has been uppermost in my mind. I knew I would be asked ordinary questions at some stage about the people who gave me help, how I chanced on them and I wanted to be ready for those questions.

Each person I met knew a small part of the story. By talking to more and more people in Amersham I was connecting the dots…putting the story together…a different story to the one I’d read about in the newspaper cuttings emerged. One gentleman who was in hospital following a stroke was keen to talk to me. The message came through that he had a lot to say to me and he’d recommend other people if he didn’t know the answer to something. This snowball effect of information gathering also began in February 2009. I’d emailed an influential local history organisation in Amersham, simply asking if they had anything in their archives about Dr Helen Davidson who was murdered in 1966. This one email, opened on the computer by a lady who knew everybody (and if she didn’t know somebody she’d find somebody who did!) began a seven year friendship. In her first email to me she wrote “Following our meeting last night there were quite a lot of people who knew Dr Davidson, but none there who knew her personally. One person said her parents knew her well as patients, but her father died last year and mother has Alzeimers, but she took your contact details in case she finds any other people of her parents’ generation….I’ll let you know if I hear any helpful information”.

And she did!

 

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JOURNAL ENTRIES AT THE BEGINNING OF MY SEARCH TO FIND A KILLER

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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?”

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Advance info about my INJURED PARTIES TALK

Talk – How I came to write Injured Parties – Solving the Murder of Dr Helen Davidson

“Injured Parties, Solving the Murder of Dr Helen Davidson”

                                    EVERYTHING ON MY BLOG IS STRICTLY COPYRIGHT

On 9 November 1966, popular GP Dr Helen Davidson was battered to death in dense woodland whilst bird watching and exercising her dog a few miles from her Buckinghamshire home. Her body was found the next day, her eyes having been pushed into her skull……….

 

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To be published on 2 May 2016 by

The History Press Ltd

 

 

MONICA by Gary softened (3) (186x200)
Monica Weller

 

 

 

From Natalie who gave me help with my research for INJURED PARTIES:“…How very exciting that your book is now listed on the internet! I would be delighted to know when it is finally available. Please do let me know (I am sure you will anyway) as soon as it is out. I hope that once the book is out, you will be giving lots of talks about how you came to write it and your extensive and fascinating research. It is a gripping story of discovery and so much to whet the appetite, without giving away the whole content of the book. It should get people queueing up to get signed copies of the book!”

 

Hodgemoor Wood, between Amersham and Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire, where the murder of Dr Davidson took place in 1966.

16. Hodgemoor Wood (author photo) (2) (339x500)

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Injured-Parties-Solving-Murder-Davidson/dp/0750966955

https://www.overdrive.com/media/2632138/injured-parties

 

 

Monica Weller is the ghost writer of RUTH ELLIS MY SISTER’S SECRET LIFE.

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For Monica’s blog, ‘Searching for the Truth about Ruth Ellis’ please go to:

copperknob.wordpress.com