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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A cover-up uncovered?
Rob Green's newly published book about the murder of his aunt - the Shrewsbury peace campaigner and rose grower Hilda Murrell - blows wide open the whole dubious court case in spectacular fashion.

To have a quarter of a century of intermittent, drip-fed evidence painstakingly collaborated and concentrated into 200 concise pages is a stark revelation. How can so...
Published on 5 Nov 2011 by Susan Caroline

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lacking clarity and focus
I was primarily interested in this book because of the assertions that the man convicted of murdering Hilda Murrell (Andrew George) was the victim of a miscarriage of justice. Not surprisingly, given that the book is predicated on the murder having been carried out by a Government black operation, the conviction of Andrew George is not a major component. But that's not my...
Published 6 months ago by NorfolkBooks


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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A cover-up uncovered?, 5 Nov 2011
Rob Green's newly published book about the murder of his aunt - the Shrewsbury peace campaigner and rose grower Hilda Murrell - blows wide open the whole dubious court case in spectacular fashion.

To have a quarter of a century of intermittent, drip-fed evidence painstakingly collaborated and concentrated into 200 concise pages is a stark revelation. How can so much of it have been overlooked at Stafford Crown Court in 2005? Just 10 percent of the information in "A Thorn In Their Side" should be enough to cause grave concern about a miscarriage of justice.

The book lists 50 unresolved questions that were barely dealt with at the trial of Andrew George; who was convicted of abducting and murdering Miss Murrell single-handed - even though he was only a 5 foot 2 inches tall 16-year-old boy at the time who had no knowledge of how to drive a car. One single piece of evidence - the discovery of DNA material under Hilda's fingertips belonging to someone other than Andrew George (or any of his family) - would have been conclusive in acquitting him. Yet it was clearly stated in court that (based on DNA evidence) Andrew, and only Andrew, could have committed the crime,

The post-trial interview conducted in George's cell is both moving and telling, and amplifies the conclusion that Miss Murrell was `held' for three days by a team of abductors (who are still at large) before being dumped to die at Hunkington. Fresh accounts of how Miss Murrell's organs were removed for toxicology tests that were never conducted are alarming. These organs were then mysteriously `lost' by the authorities. 27 years later, the police still can't find her brain.

It's a remarkable book - and if true justice is to be done it has to be taken seriously by our judiciary.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lesson in challenging the apparatus of state security, 26 Jan 2012
This book could have been a crime novel except the plot was too complicated for a fictional writer to dream up and, unlike most crime novels, the murder is not solved nor are the real perpetrators apprehended. But it comes very close. The sheer scale of the research, compilation and cross referencing of facts, observations and opinions and their interpretation through the eyes of a loyal, retired serviceman and law abiding subject of the British Crown, lead one to the inevitable and chilling conclusion that seeming police incompetence was a cover for state security intervention, liquidation and fabrication.

But what former Royal Navy Commander Rob Green is suggesting, nay affirming, his aunt Hilda Murrell was subjected to couldn't happen in this country, could it? Well, anybody who was involved in anti-nuclear activities during the 1980s was placed under Police Special Branch surveillance in their own localities. Those asking the more penetrating questions and those encouraging others to join them in actively opposing the nuclear state were subject to more intensive forms of intimidation - and worse - at the hands of MI5 and their sub-contractors. The `civil' nuclear power industry also had a surveillance arm.

Hilda Murrell was one of those anti-nuclear activists whose research and writing was deemed dangerous enough by the security state to warrant their full attention and to prevent her ideas from spreading and challenging those who held power. Although it is hard to comprehend in our post-Cold War environment and less ideological times, those who held power decided that those who fundamentally challenged it, could legitimately be harassed, have their human rights suspended and be marginalised - all in the name of defending freedom and democracy.

The irony is that those who were campaigning for the abolition of nuclear weapons and the prevention of the expansion of the nuclear power industry were trying to achieve it by almost entirely democratic means. Their path to this objective was blocked by official secrecy, non-accountability, compliant politicians and judiciary and the apparatus of state security. And, as Rob Green came to realise, the state here in the UK, just as in the communist countries, would, ultimately, defend itself.

Contrary to received wisdom, endlessly inferred by enquiring police officers and lazy journalists, Commander Rob Green did not leave the Royal Navy a disaffected or disillusioned 38 year-old. He wasn't infected with Hilda's anti-nuclear virus, nor had he passed on any sensitive military secrets to her about the sinking of the Belgrano, an act of unprovoked aggression which effectively committed Argentina and Britain to waging war over what they called Los Ilas Malvinas and we called The Falkland Islands, thirty years ago this year.

Rob Green learned, through many years of hard graft and intelligence gathering, that the country that he was unquestioningly loyal to, even prepared to go on a suicide mission to deliver an air-launched nuclear bomb to defend, was rotten at the core and protected by an unscrupulous and corrupt bureaucracy which, if challenged, could react viciously.

Hilda Murrell paid the ultimate price for her quiet and carefully constructed convictions. Only her ideas were a threat. But, of course, that is exactly what those who held power feared the most. Rob Green came to share his beloved aunt's ideas and has subsequently spent many years doing his very best to help spread those ideas and, at the same time, expose the workings of the nuclear state and bring the perpetrators of her death and their paymasters to account, even if they are now deceased. He has risked prosecution under the Official Secrets Act in so doing.

He deserves our individual and collective support in his endeavour to re-open the coroner's inquest. Perhaps some in the Fourth Estate can make a contribution too, if they can get past their own gatekeepers, external as well as internal.

But, then again, Rob Green could just have his head full of conspiracy theories and have drawn unsubstantiated conclusions from a series of random observations while the West Mercia Police Force could have been exhaustive in their enquiries and, somewhat belatedly, bang on in convincing the judicial system to convict a then 16 year-old truant from a local foster home and petty criminal for abduction and murder.

Read the book, visit the Hilda Murrell website, then make your own judgement.

[...]
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Explosive New Evidence Revealed in Baffling Case, 12 Feb 2012
In March 1984, the peace of the pretty English town of Shrewsbury was shattered by the brutal murder of one of its most respected citizens - Hilda Murrell. This renowned plantswoman and passionate anti-nuclear campaigner was abducted from her home, killed, and dumped in a wood outside the town. `Bungled burglary', said the police. `State crime', said Hilda's friends, citing the fact that she was due to deliver a paper at the first British planning inquiry into a controversial new nuclear power plant at Sizewell on the Suffolk coast. Unusual occurrences reported by several of Hilda's friends around the time of her death were summarily dismissed by the police, adding to the sense that a cover-up was going on. When Labour MP Tam Dalyell, pursuing the truth about the sinking of the General Belgrano in the Falklands War, said his sources had confirmed British intelligence involvement in Hilda's murder, the tale took yet another strange twist.

All these events had a profound effect on Hilda's nephew Robert Green, a former Commander with the Royal Navy. Convinced burglary was not the murder motive and increasingly disillusioned with police handling of the case, he began his own enquiries and persisted despite intense harassment from shadowy forces. In 2011, 27 years after his aunt's death, Green's painstaking research culminated in this extraordinary book "A Thorn in their Side", written in conjunction with his wife Kate Dewes.

Green's and Dewes' exemplary detective work has pieced together a jigsaw of mind-boggling complexity. Who could ever imagine that such a huge, and extraordinarily clumsy, operation would be required to eliminate a responsible, highly intelligent patriotic woman exercising her democratic right to protest? Unpicking the police version of events, the book uncovers dramatic DNA evidence, previously withheld, showing that the lone burglar finally convicted of the murder was not the man Hilda fought with in her house.

"A Thorn in Their Side" can be read on many levels - here are three of them. For those new to the story it could be the whodunit to end all whodunits, except that, as Nigel Chamberlain says in his Amazon review, the perpetrators were never caught. At another level it is a shocking expose of the dark forces and paranoia that lurk beneath the glossy veneer of western democracies. Nothing new about this of course, but Green's book punches the message home with a blow that knocks you off your feet and cannot be ignored.

At the third and perhaps most poignant level, it is an account of Robert Green's personal journey during his courageous pursuit of the truth about Hilda. This book is an incredible achievement both in the extent of its research and in the determination that drove the project. Anyone with the average quota of moral fibre would, given the endlessly frustrating official obfuscation, incessant harassment and intimidation, have given up on the quest more than a decade ago. Instead, Green's determination and tenacity are an inspiring and deeply moving foil to the evils that his book exposes - a gleam of gold in the dark.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lacking clarity and focus, 30 Jan 2014
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I was primarily interested in this book because of the assertions that the man convicted of murdering Hilda Murrell (Andrew George) was the victim of a miscarriage of justice. Not surprisingly, given that the book is predicated on the murder having been carried out by a Government black operation, the conviction of Andrew George is not a major component. But that's not my real problem with the book. I'm afraid that I found it hard going because it mixed various issues together in a way I found confusing. There were a significant number of examples given of incidents in Mr Green's own life since Hilda Murrell was murdered which he ascribes to clandestine surveillance. They might be, but I would have found it clearer if the book had focussed on the specific evidence surrounding the murder and not, in those sections, described mail being interfered with, telephones tapped etc. Those elements of the conspiracy could have been marshalled together in a separate section.

I fear that the lack of focus also meant that the book became rather repetitive. I felt that with some good editing it could have been a much punchier and thus convincing account.

I felt that I should add this if only to reflect that not every reader found it convincing and a five star read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the UK we are talking about !!!, 15 Aug 2013
This review is from: A Thorn in Their Side: Hilda Murrell Threatened Britain's Nuclear State. She Was Brutally Murdered. This is the True Story of Her Shocking Death. (Paperback)
I can only echo the first 3 reviewers, and add that this cause has the backing of Mike Mansfield QC -- 'nuff said!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informed and frightening indictment of a police state., 30 Dec 2013
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I've read a couple of earlier books about the death of Hilda Murrell along with the occasional press article and TV programme. From the outset, it seemed very odd that an elderly lady should disappear from her home in broad daylight only to be found dead a few days later. It was odd that she was missing for so long without being found when her body lay in a relatively open area and not far from home. Her car was nearby. People who did see something were ignored. Add to that some interesting background; her ( negative) interest in a proposed nuclear reactor at Sizewell and a nephew with a role in Naval intelligence and the sinking of the Belgrano during the Falklands conflict and all the elements are there for a real life thriller.

The lasting sadness here is that an intelligent lady who opposed nuclear power lost her life in a meaningless act of violence. There's a strong sense that she was wiped out by the State. The circumstances remain the subject of speculation and this account adds further fuel to an underlying belief that British security forces and others may have played a part in her death.

If you believe that Britons are free, read this and think again about surveillance, covert ops, and how our Government of the day deals with dissidents. Even if they are older and apparently 'establishment'. Like the death of David Kelly, this story will no doubt run and run without firm conclusion. It deserves a wide and questioning audience and this account raises so many valid questions we should all be screaming for a fully public enquiry. Who's next?

A great read whether you're new to the case or looking for a starter. Thanks Mr Green.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An important book., 19 Nov 2013
I, too, am very familiar with Shrewsbury and the town now seems haunted and vaguely inimical at every turn. Green's account of his long struggle to find justice both for his murdered aunt, and latterly for the hapless young man convicted of her killing, is the stuff of twenty-first century nightmare. This book is a testament to two modern heroes who were prepared to give up everything in their lives for the sake of something bigger than themselves, in the face of the greatest possible opposition, cowardly intimidation and cruelty. I recommend this book with all my outraged heart.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilda Murrell, 16 Nov 2013
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What a brilliant piece of investigative prose. I enjoyed it immensely and congratulate Robert Green on his research and tenacity.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A new slant on the murder of Hilda ,, 16 Oct 2013
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I live in the Area and was not allowed to take my car passed Haumond Hill on the day she was allegedly found ,and have been interested ever since .This account clocks up more information not in the original book I read . definitely food for thought.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another official smoke screen ?, 9 Sep 2013
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This review is from: A Thorn in Their Side: Hilda Murrell Threatened Britain's Nuclear State. She Was Brutally Murdered. This is the True Story of Her Shocking Death. (Paperback)
A very carefully and detailed book raising many questions about the official verdict of events, that may best be described as a whitewash.
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