The presentation would never come to pass. At around noon that day, Hilda's home was broken into and she was abducted - apparently in her own car. The vehicle was later found abandoned in a country lane, five miles outside the town - three days later, her mutilated body was found by police in a copse a field away from her car.
Hilda had been beaten and stabbed multiple times before being left to die from hypothermia sometime later. The resultant police investigation produced no leads or suspects - at least officially - and was widely criticized as negligent and superficial.
Officers concluded Hilda disturbed an individual burglarizing her home, who then attacked and kidnapped her. In December that year, the delayed inquest into Hilda's murder - at which only the doctor who carried out her autopsy, who later had his license revoked, and the local Detective Chief Superintendent, were permitted to give statements - reinforced this narrative, ignoring serious anomalies in the process, such as strong suggestions Hilda's body had been moved after her death.
Alternative theories quickly proliferated among Hilda's friends and family, the media and even members of parliament. Most commonly, it was suggested she was murdered due to her prominent anti-nuclear activities and opposition to the 1982 Falklands War - whether by individuals acting on behalf of the industry, or members of the security services. The latter theory was ardently supported by Labour MP Tam Dalyell, who repeatedly raised the issue in the House of Commons. "Whoever was in [Hilda's] house had clearly been looking for something. [It] had been carefully searched and her papers gone through in an orderly manner. Her telephone had been cut off in such a way that, although it was dead from inside the house, anyone calling would hear it ringing out. The police agree that is a sophisticated way of doing things - not the actions of a common burglar taking a chance. I am certain persons in Westminster and Whitehall know a great deal more about the violent death of Hilda Murrell than they have so far been prepared to divulge," Dalyell said December 19 1984.
Ever since, the intrepid rose-grower has rarely strayed very far from public consciousness. Her case has been dissected and immortalized in books, documentaries, plays and films, and as of 2018, it remains an enduring mystery, perhaps the most bizarre and baffling murder in the history of 20th
century Britain - despite the conviction in May 2005 of Andrew George for Hilda's abduction and murder.