6:30 AM June 8, 2022
A woman whose husband walked out of their Norfolk home and vanished more than a decade ago has spoken of her hope that he is still alive.
Dr Shona Lidgey made an emotional appeal for information just ahead of the 11th anniversary of the date of her husband’s disappearance.
David Lidgey, also a GP, left the family home in Hilgay, near Downham Market, on June 29, 2011, having written a note to his wife saying that he had ‘gone for a walk’.
The father-of-three had driven his children to school and left his prized silver Volvo, wallet and mobile phone behind. He has not been seen since.
He was declared dead at the High Court in 2018, but his widow has revealed that in the same year she started to receive phone and text messages from someone claiming to be him.
In a wide-ranging interview with the Daily Mail, she disclosed that one of the messages read “you will see me again soon” and said she feels in her heart that “David is still alive”.
She told the newspaper: “If not from David, then who would be cruel enough to send me messages claiming to be him? I can’t think of anyone who would want to hurt us that much.
“It was very upsetting. I contacted the police because this person said some personal things which made me think it could be David, and his writing style was very similar, and how could this person have our numbers?”
Police were unable to establish any identity, only that the messages had come from the London area and that the mobile phone was no longer in service.
Norfolk police confirmed it was involved in this investigation, as it was in the original search for David, who would now be 62.
His case, which remains a mystery, is one of those highlighted by the national charity Missing People.
Since his disappearance, there have been possible sightings, including several in Leicester, where he studied medicine, but none have been conclusive.
Dr Lidgey is convinced her husband did not take his own life, saying his “sense of self-preservation was too strong”.
She spoke of her desperation to hear from him. “I was so desperate I wanted to climb up Big Ben and shout ‘Where’s David? How do I find him?,” she said.
“It was horrendous. We missed him so much. None of us will ever fully recover from it. It has maimed us in a way.”
Ms Lidgey had previously told how her husband, who she met at medical school, had suffered from depression for many years but felt unable to seek help, despite her repeated requests.
They had moved to Norfolk from London, where he had been involved in two traumatic incidents – in one he was confronted by a man with a knife at his surgery and in the other he was attacked with a hammer in a road rage incident – but he had never settled in the county.
The couple’s children Ruth and Arthur also told the Daily Mail that they feel “no anger” towards their father and want to know what happened.
Ruth, now 26, said: “When someone dies, you can grieve and move on, but when someone you love goes missing there is nothing but uncertainty, even though life carries on.
“If he’s alive, I would like to have him back in our lives in some way, no matter how difficult that might be for all of us.”
Her brother, Arthur, said: “I can’t see how a person can live for so long, completely off radar, without leaving any trace. “But I would like some kind of resolution.”
And Dr Lidgey said while she no longer hopes for her husband’s return she would “like him to know that he is still loved by us”.
“It would be enough for me just to know that David is alive and happy”, she told the newspaper..
She had to wait seven years to apply to the High Court for David to be legally declared missing presumed dead, to enable her to sell the house and clear their debts.
To report a sighting of Mr Lidgey visit missingpeople.org.uk/help-us-find/david-lidgey-11-002631
Nine months before he went missing, David approached a former colleague to ask for a reference so he could apply for a job in Australia.
He said he was planning to go alone, adding: “It’s my sanity or my family.”
And six weeks before he vanished, he had driven off after a row. He was later traced by police to a hotel.
On the day of his disappearance, the couple had another row over Dr Lidgey’s plans to take the children away while her husband was working.
He then took the children on the school run. Arthur told the Daily Mail: “My father kept apologising to us, saying how sorry he was for upsetting us by leaving a few weeks earlier.
“He told us how much he loved us. That was the last thing we ever heard him say.”