Wednesday, April 23, 2014
A Thorn in Their Side by Robert Green
John Blake, 2013, £7.99
A mystery set in Shropshire? A mystery in which new developments occur through articles in the Shropshire Star?
A Thorn in Their Side is a book for me. I even talked to a BBC Radio Shropshire journalist who gets a mention in the days when I acted as a press office for the Malcolm Saville Society.
Older readers will remember the story of Hilda Murrell. In 1984 she was abducted from her Shrewsbury home and later found dead in a field outside the town.
All sorts of theories surrounded her death at the time. She was a notable campaigner against nuclear power and her nephew Robert Green, the author of this book, had worked for naval intelligence during the Falklands War.
The mystery was apparently solved in 2005 when Andrew George was convicted through DNA evidence.
However, Green argues that his conviction does not provide a complete answer to the questions surrounding his aunt’s death. In 1984 George was a 16-year-old who could not drive.
I do not buy all his theories, but he convinces me that his aunt’s body could not have lain undiscovered where it was found for the length of time the official account maintains. He also convinces me that neighbours saw a lot of comings and goings at her house during the time she was missing.
Today Green, who has received help in his efforts to find the truth about his aunt's death from Paddy Ashdown, lives in New Zealand with his partner. Their mail is routinely opened before it reaches them.
It is common to dismiss people like Green as conspiracy theory, but in the 21st century we know it is governments who are paranoid, not the people.