He wrote: “Davidson’s skills and confidence impressed Frank Thorne, then a Sunday People reporter, when they first met in 1983 while working on what became an infamous unsolved murder – the disappearance of Diane Jones, wife of a doctor in Coggeshall, Essex.
“The case captured national headlines after she was reported missing by her husband some nine days after last being seen. Her body was found three months later.
“With Davidson’s help through his Colchester contacts, the People was able to splash on exclusive revelations about Mrs Jones’s secret private life.”
Frank added: “The elitist daily boys looked down their noses at Paul because he was from the local paper, but I could see they had made a big mistake.
“He was one of the best journalists I ever met.”
Dave Clark, who knew Paul for 40 years, said: “As a reporter he was the bravest of the bunch.
“Chasing villains and murder suspects around dockland pubs for the Colchester Evening Gazette, or unearthing big scandal for the People, he would knock on the doors others feared to approach.”
Paul is survived by his wife Shirley, children and grandchildren.
Funeral details have yet to be announced.