A family drama in England made the headlines again 11 years later. The father of three children, who disappeared years ago, told the messages he received from his husband, whom he thought was dead…
Dr. David Lidgey disappeared 11 years ago with his clothes on. His wife, Dr. When Shona Lidgey returned home from work 11 years ago, she still can’t forget the day she found a handwritten note from her husband on the kitchen table that said ‘I went for a walk’.
David, the son of a navy commander, had taken time off from work, saying he wasn’t feeling well, and Shona was thinking about what he could do to make her feel better.
The 51-year-old father of three often took long walks in the Fens near their home. But hours passed and there was no trace of him. Shona began to panic.
“I kept calling her cell phone but she didn’t answer,” 55-year-old Shona recalls. “Then, after a while, I heard my husband’s phone ringing in the upstairs bedroom.”
When David left the house on June 29, 2011, wearing only his clothes, never to return again, his cell phone was not the only thing he left behind.
He left his car, his passport, his wallet, all his credit cards, even a coin in his pocket. The only thing he took with him were the keys to his house. He didn’t even wear his expensive watch, which was a gift from his wife…
Shona describes that moment in these words:
“It felt like a very personal message to me, like he was leaving and not coming back. It was as if he had given up on a life he no longer wanted.”
Dr. David Lidgey’s disappearance has remained not only a baffling mystery to this day, but a painful open wound to his wife and three children he left behind.
Despite printing and searching for posters and extensive police investigations, Shona has no idea where her husband went, what happened to him, or whether he’s even alive.
The unfortunate woman asks the same question, confused now as she did 11 years ago:
“How can a person just disappear and leave absolutely no trace?”
In 2018, seven years after David disappeared, Shona received a text on her cell phone. The person who wrote the message claimed to be David and wrote, “You’ll see me again soon.”
However, the person who made this promise to the family later disappeared for the second time, devastating the family.
The police were unable to identify any identity; only revealed that the messages were sent from the London area. The mobile phone number is no longer in service anyway…
Shona, whose husband will now be 62, says, “I don’t know if it was David who sent the message or some punk, but I feel in my heart that David is still alive.” I can’t think of anyone who would want to hurt us that much.”
Shona speaks publicly for the first time since an emotional call for David to return home ten years ago. And he’s joined by Ruth, 26, and Arthur, 24, who were just children when their father disappeared. Their youngest, 19-year-old Tom, is still dealing with his emotions.
Like their mother, Ruth and Arthur feel no anger or resentment towards their father, they simply try to empathize with him, believing that the mental turmoil may have driven him to abandon them.
But no matter how painful it is, they want the mystery to be solved…
David and Shona’s elder daughter Ruth said, “For a long time I avoided even thinking about it, but now I feel I need to know what happened to my father. You can grieve when someone dies and move on with your life, but when someone you love disappears, even if life goes on, there is nothing but uncertainty. If he’s alive “No matter how hard it is for all of us, I’d like to get him back into our lives somehow.”
Arthur, a personal fitness trainer and nutritionist, agrees that he too needs ‘shutdown’. But he thinks his father is probably dead and says, “I don’t understand how a person could live so long, completely off the radar, without a trace, but I want some kind of solution.” He uses his words.
Despite all the tears and sadness of the past 11 years, Shona still treasures the many happy memories she shared with David before their family life abruptly ended and they turned him into a single parent overnight.
She remembers how they got married in 1995 after meeting at a family medicine education conference, the joy on David’s face each time she announced her pregnancy, and the tears of happiness she shed at the birth of their child.
“He was a good husband and father,” he says. “I loved him very much.”
David had been prone to episodes of depression since Shona knew him. As a young doctor, he was badly affected by the suicide of his best friend. The death of her parents, who were very close to each other in 2001, also devastated her.
Both also experienced traumatic events while working as GPs in Southeast London.
“It was a really difficult time. David was very angry and offended and I felt that he was withdrawn from the family. We had decided to escape London and move to the countryside. He really didn’t talk to me at all,”
Shona began to worry about her deteriorating mental health, but David refused to seek help. He angrily refused to be encouraged to see a psychiatrist and instead began taking antidepressants.
“He said how much he loved us. That was the last thing we heard him say.
Before David vanished into thin air, he sent Shona a message saying he wasn’t feeling well and was taking permission. Shona never heard from him again.
Shona is sure that her husband did not commit suicide: “The sense of self-preservation was very strong,” she says.
David’s body was never found. After his disappearance, people matching his description were seen in various cities in England, but none of them was David…
Almost every night, David came back to her in dreams, but as time passed, he gradually gave up hope of seeing her again.
Shona had to wait seven years to apply to the Supreme Court for David to be declared legally missing, sell the house and clear his debts.
She believes it’s no coincidence that the annoying phone messages started coming in at that time.
The first message was left in a robotic and frightening voice:
“I’ve been away for a while, I’m flying home, I should be with you soon. Please get a newspaper for me.”
When the woman tried to call the number, no one answered. The same person texted his eldest son, “Is that you, Arthur? I don’t want to upset you, but you’ll see me soon. DL.” she texted again.
The police also assisted the family with the messages, but they could not find out who it was. Then one day, when Shona tried to send a message to the number, she heard that the line was out of service. And so the family never learned the truth.
The Supreme Court hearing continued, and after examining all the evidence, Dr David Lidgey was declared legally dead and Shona’s marriage was dissolved. The unfortunate woman is officially widowed today.
The family gathers every year to celebrate the anniversary of his disappearance, but Shona has given up hope for his return.
“It is enough for me to know that David is alive and happy. I want her to know that she is still loved by us. I may no longer love her as a wife; I went through so much pain and heartache for this. But I will always love him as the father of our children.”