On the afternoon of November 9, 1966, Dr Helen Davidson of Amersham set out for Hodgemoor Wood with her six-year-old terrier and a set of binoculars for a spot of birdwatching.

The following day her body was discovered with severe head injuries, her dog lying protectively across her legs, after a 12-hour search in which police were joined by more than 100 army troops.

With no known enemies, Detective Chief Superintendent Jack Williams of New Scotland Yard surmised that she “has spied illicit lovers, was spotted, and one or both of them killed her.”

Fifty years later - after seven years of investigation without access to police records - author and amateur sleuth Monica Weller has uncovered that none of this is true.

Her book, Injured Parties: Solving the Murder of Dr Helen Davidson, cracks the case and names the killer, revealing that theories surrounding the murder of this “loved and respected” woman were entirely fallacious.

Having not yet read the book I spoke to Monica and asked her to talk me through her discoveries.

“A lot of assumptions were made that she started her walk at a certain time, before it got dark” she tells me. “But one of the witnesses was a local GP who had bumped into her in Amersham on the Hill at 4pm on the afternoon of November 9. His evidence was not taken any further because it didn’t, apparently, tie in with what the police thought.

“After she bumped into the GP she then, at some point, got into the car and drove to Hodgemoor Wood by which point it was getting dark.”

Whether or not you are as inquisitive in nature as Monica, the question arises as to why Dr Davidson was heading off, on her own, to the woods in the dark and why on earth did she have binoculars with her? What was she hoping to see?

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The Evening News, husband Herbert Baker with Dr Davidson's dog

Press clippings from the time also told of a clean and tidy crime scene with no signs of a struggle. However, by a stroke of pure luck back in 2009, Monica was able to discover that the public had been misled.

Monica was idly scrolling through the website of the publisher for her previous book on Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hanged whose remains are in St Mary’s Church in Amersham, when she happened across a book called Body of Evidence by Professor Bowen, the forensic pathologist who carried out the post-mortem on Dr Davidson.

She contacted her publisher who in turn contacted Professor Bowen and before she knew it was making her way to his home in Hertfordshire.

“He said to me that murders back in 1966 were very unusual, especially in a place like Amersham. He said it was like something out of Agatha Christie.”

“He showed me his documentation, this was a really big breakthrough for me because I am not entitled to any of the police documentation because it’s a cold case. When something is a cold case the police don’t share documentation whatsoever so to come across Professor Bowen was really quite incredible.”

Monica gratefully received his files including a copy of the post-mortem report detailing, she tells me: “who in the way of police officers were around, what time he arrived, what the scene of the crime was like, the clothing that the doctor wore, the estimated time of death, everything.”

Once again untruths came to light: “We were all led to believe that she hadn’t put up a fight but the evidence didn’t ring true. Her gloves were absolutely smothered in blood and there was blood spattered around the trees.”

In 1966 forensic testing was not what it is today but there were tests available that were not carried out, including whether the blood discovered at the scene all matched and whether the blood belonged to a human or an animal.

This would have gone some way to prove that the believed murder weapon, a bloodied piece of burnt timber found at the scene, did in fact cause the fatal blows.

In the years of research that followed, Monica spoke to many people in Amersham who remembered the doctor and her murder, uncovering more mysteries.

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Painted as a woman beloved by her community it was reported to be a random killing, with papers including the Bucks Free Press writing at the time of a “local killer” who was “behind someone’s door” and so there was great unrest within Amersham.

Monica tells me: “One of the people I interviewed, who lived in the area, she used to ride in the woods on her horse and I believe her parents spoke to one of the senior investigating officers to say we can’t stop her going over there on her horse and they said don’t worry.

“This is where the story conflicts with what was published. In the published story people were getting worried about the fact this murderer might have gone off and killed someone else, when the police were saying privately to some of the local people not to worry because they thought it was a specific murder by someone who knew her.”

Over time – a long time - Monica gradually unravelled the mystery: “We were led to believe she was loved there by everyone. I found somebody who certainly did not love her and would quite happily have killed her.”

Monica would tell me no more than that but said Injured Parties reveals an uncomfortable part of Amersham’s history, leaving her wary of how members of the community would react.

After publishing the book Monica received a call from an Amersham-based magistrate and held her breath in anticipation of anger, but was told: “We all loved Dr Davidson but what we have seen is that there was another side. You have been even-handed. Let’s hope your book will help some of us who wanted closure.”

I did not know Dr Davidson, I was not even alive in 1966, but after an hour-long conversation with Monica I feel as if I also need closure and so turned straight to the book of which a review will follow in next week’s Bucks Free Press.

In the book, Monica gives special thanks to Mike Dewey, a volunteer archivist for the Bucks Free Press. “For quite a long time he beavered away in various libraries and found cuttings and things for me. I’m really appreciative of what he did to help me.”

Injured Parties: Solving the Murder of Dr Helen Davidson is published by The History Press.