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The Scene

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About The Scene

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Doorstep murder: Police have new man in sights over banker shooting

Dec 2,2022 9:50 pm

The murder of banker Alistair Wilson has baffled detectives for almost 20 years - But police now believe The Key to solving the case could lie just yards from the doorstep where he was gunned down.

They think The Most likely motive centres on Alistair's objections to a decking area which was built in the pub Car Park across The Road from His house in the Highland town of Nairn.

And Bbc Scotland has learned that police are now interested in a specific person who has not previously been associated with the case.

This Man was a regular drinker in the pub and was said to have kept guns in His house.

The revelations have come during a recent flurry of activity in a case which has Until Now seen countless theories, But no arrests and precious few clues.

The Shooting that would become one of Scotland's most notorious unsolved murders took place on the evening of 28 November 2004.

Alistair had been reading a Bedtime Story to His two sons in The Family 's home at 10 Crescent Road when the doorbell rang just after 7pm.

He and His wife Veronica were expecting friends, so they thought nothing of it - But Veronica did not recognise The Man at The Door .

He was wearing dark clothes and a Baseball Cap , and he asked for Alistair. Veronica took over reading The Story and Alistair walked downstairs.

When he came back to His wife and children, he was bewildered.

Alistair had been given a blue envelope, the kind you might get a Birthday Card in. He asked Veronica what The Man had said to her when she opened The Door , as the envelope was not addressed to him.

It had the name Paul written on The Front , and it was empty.

Veronica said The Man had asked for Alistair by name, so he went back downstairs to see if he was Still There .

He was. A few minutes passed, then Veronica heard loud bangs, which She Said sounded like wooden palettes being dropped.

She left The Boys and ran downstairs, where she found Alistair lying in the porch.

He had been shot at least Three Times , in The Face and The Body . There was no sign of The Blue envelope.

Veronica caught a glimpse of the back of The Killer as he made His escape, walking left along Crescent Road .

She called 999. " It was obvious it was so serious, there was just so much blood, " She Said .

" I'm Just Looking at Al, thinking…. I just didn't know what to do. This is my husband we're talking about… I can't help him. "

Across The Road from the Wilsons' home, Lynsey Gardner had ordered a meal with her friend at the Havelock Hotel - a family-run, seaside pub Hotel with a lively bar.

" It was busy That Night , people were in for Sunday dinner, " She Said .

" The jukebox was on, a few people were having drinks at The Bar . "

Lynsey and her friend were chatting when The Door flew open.

" Mrs Wilson burst in, saying: 'Please help, please help - my husband's just been shot', " said Lynsey.

" Myself and My Friend just looked at each other, almost in Disbelief - did we hear what we thought we'd just heard?

" We ran out to try to help. It just so happened that we were First ones to arrive at The Door , to see Alistair lying there in The Doorway . "

It's one of Scotland's longest unsolved murder cases.

Alistair Wilson was shot on His doorstep almost 20 years ago. Are police any closer to finding who killed him and why?

He was lying on His back, fighting for His life.

" It was His face I noticed First - His cheek was puffed out, " said Lynsey.

" He was still conscious. He was struggling to breathe. "

The Women had paramedics on speakerphone, telling them what to do.

" I remember seeing the cartridge of a bullet, lying on His chest or stomach area, " added Lynsey.

" I remember pulling up His shirt to see if there were any bullet wounds to help stop The Bleeding . "

Lynsey and her friend were not the Only People on The Scene . Andy Burnet, the owner of the Havelock Hotel , also rushed to the doorstep from a bar just down The Road called The Shambles .

A year after the murder he gave a detailed account of What Happened to Sunday Times journalist David James Smith .

" He Said that he went up The Steps , and saw that Alistair was lying on the ground, " said The Reporter .

" And he also described seeing a bullet hole just beneath His cheek. "

He Said there had been Another Woman there who was doing everything she could to try to save Alistair.

" Veronica was there and it seemed to Andy Burnet that she was in shock, " The Reporter added.

" He described how he got hold of her and made her look at him. He asked her What Happened . And She Said this really weird guy came to The Door . "

Lynsey has fragmented memories of the frantic five or Six Minutes she spent on the doorstep before The Ambulance arrived - But one moment sticks out clearly in her mind.

" I remember looking up to see a Little Boy standing at the bottom of The Stairs , " She Said .

" And trying to ask anybody that was about to take the Little Boy Into Another room.

" You don't want a Little Boy to see what we're looking at in The Doorway . It's His dad. "

That Little Boy was Andrew Wilson , the couple's eldest son. He was only four at The Time .

Later, in a BBC interview, he revealed that The Last , horrific image of His father on the doorstep is the only memory he has of him.

Alistair was Taken Away in an ambulance. It was only then that Lynsey felt afraid.

" I remember standing at The Front door, Just Looking out into the Dark Night , " She Said .

" And Then all of a sudden coming to the realisation that there was somebody Out There with a gun. And I was probably standing in full view. "

Lynsey was told to go back inside the Havelock and to stay there until The Police were ready to take her statement.

On her way back into the pub, she would have walked past a decking area that had been installed six months before. It didn't occur to her that these wooden planks would be at the centre of The Police investigation Almost 18 years later.

Ten days after the murder, The Gun was found down a drain half a mile from The Wilson family home. It was an antique German pistol, not a typical Murder Weapon .

No DNA was retrieved from The Weapon - a hammer blow for The Police investigation, and for The Wilson family.

Police combed through Alistair and Veronica's life, trying to find a motive. An obvious focus was that Alistair had handed in His notice at The Bank of Scotland.

He had become disillusioned with His career prospects and the direction The Bank was taking. He was due to finish about Two Weeks after His murder.

But that line of inquiry drew a blank.

So did the theory that there was Irish paramilitary involvement, or that it was Mistaken Identity . Alistair's wife Veronica also had to put up with gossip locally, as suspicion fell on her too, despite police being clear she was not a suspect.

There has recently been a flurry of activity in the case, with new witnesses and an updated description of The Gunman .

A sighting of two men on Nairn's East Beach the month before The Killing has also come to light. One of The Men was said to have a gun.

And for the First Time , police have raised a potential motive.

Det Insp Gary Winter , The Officer leading the murder inquiry, said: " We believe The Most likely motive, based on what was a current grievance in Alistair's life at The Time of His murder, was the fact that he had objected in writing about a large decking area that had been built in the pub Car Park directly opposite where he stayed. "

This decking had been built at the Havelock without planning permission. When Andy Burnet eventually applied for permission in November 2004, there was a call for any objections from neighbours.

Alistair wrote a letter in which he complained that food and drink was served on the decking whenever the pub was open, leading to noise and disturbance at night.

" Beer glasses have been found in garden areas and Broken Glass strewn in The Street , " he wrote.

" During the summer, I and My Family felt uncomfortable using our front door and even looking out our front windows as we frequently had customers staring directly back at us. "

Alistair's letter of objection was sent to The Local council on the week of His murder. It was copied by the Planning Department and sent to the Havelock Two Days before The Shooting .

Police say Alistair's objection was the subject of discussion in The Bar that Friday and Saturday Night . He was killed on the Sunday.

Det Insp Winter said that the objection could have led to the decking being removed " at great expense to whoever built it, or inconvenience to those that were involved in building it, or using it".

When the decking theory was made public earlier this year, people in Nairn were sceptical.

Surely such a mundane issue could not be responsible for The Level of violence and brutality involved in Alistair's murder?

Also, His objection to the decking was not new information.

Andy Burnet brought up the dispute in His Sunday Times interview, back in 2005. David James Smith kept notes of their conversation.

He Said Mr Burnet had told him it had been " a big issue for The Police and everybody else in Nairn" that he had received The Letter of complaint The Day before The Shooting .

Mr Burnet told The Reporter he had been " interrogated and investigated" and that police had even travelled to Guernsey to speak to His golfing partner.

" Coincidentally, when I later spoke to the senior Police Officer , he started telling me about some of the efforts they'd gone to try to track down The Gun that they'd found.

" And he (the Police Officer ) was describing to me going to Guernsey and enquiring after arms dealers there, " he told Mr Smith .

Guernsey was occupied by Germany during WWII and some Nazi officers were known to have carried the brand of pocket pistol used to shoot Alistair.

Police were aware of the decking dispute when the murder happened. Alistair's letter of objection was read out at a council meeting two months after His death, and The Press reported on it. So why is it suddenly significant?

Andy Burnet moved to Canada in 2013 with His children and Canadian wife. Police travelled to Nova Scotia earlier this year to interview him.

The former publican about their visit. He Said police talked about an individual who may have been in His circle of friends back in Nairn.

He Said : " It had No Relation to me other than somebody they thought I might have known. I didn't particularly know them. "

We tried to speak to Andy Burnet, But he either did not receive our messages or did not want to respond.

Det Insp Winter has emphasised that the former Havelock landlord is not a suspect.

" I'm extremely grateful to Andy Burnet for allowing us to go and see him in Canada and spend time With Us , " He Said .

" Andy Burnet is absolutely a Key Witness in this investigation, and not a suspect. "

So What is new about the decking dispute? We know from The Police that it was the subject of discussion in the Havelock in The Days before Alistair's death. And we know that police are now interested in a specific person, someone we have not heard about before.

We have decided not to name The Man at this stage in case it affects The Police investigation.

What we can say is that he lived in Nairn at The Time of the murder, and worked for The Emergency services. He's linked to Andy Burnet on Social Media .

Neighbours have said he was a regular drinker at the Havelock.

Two of them also said he kept guns in The House , in a locked gun safe, as he would be required to do under a licence.

When Alistair was murdered, police said The Gunman was 30-40 years old. They recently changed that age description; it's now 20-40. At The Time of the murder, This Man was 20.

Someone Who Knew him told The Bbc he was a decent guy, and certainly wasn't stocky, which was also a key part of the description of The Killer .

As we approach The Anniversary of Alistair's death, no-one has yet been charged. Could police finally be closing in on the answers The Wilson family so desperately Need ?

A behind The Scenes look at The Investigation into the Alistair Wilson murder, one of Scotland's most baffling Unsolved Cases .

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