Police probing 2004 doorstep murder investigate planning complaint

Was banker shot dead over hotel decking row? Police probing 2004 doorstep murder believe planning complaint could hold key to the killing

  • Alistair Wilson had objected to a decking area being built outside a hotel
  • Police Scotland officers are convinced Mr Wilson’s personal life, rather than his work at Bank of Scotland, will provide the answer to why he was murdered
  • He was shot dead on his doorstep in 2004, three days after the local authority sent the Havelock Hotel in Nairn in the Highlands the details of his objections

Detectives investigating the murder of a banker shot dead on his doorstep believe a planning row may hold the key to finding his killer.

Alistair Wilson had objected to a decking area being built outside a hotel opposite his home shortly before his death in 2004.

Police Scotland officers are convinced Mr Wilson’s personal life, rather than his work at Bank of Scotland, will provide the answer to why he was murdered.

The father-of-two was shot dead on his doorstep in November 2004, just three days after the local authority had sent the Havelock Hotel in Nairn in the Highlands the details of his objections. He said the decking was causing noise and litter.

Detective Superintendent Graeme Mackie said: ‘We believe this could be significant to our inquiries and I am asking anyone with information about this issue to please come forward.’

Alistair Wilson had objected to a decking area being built outside a hotel opposite his home shortly before his death in 2004 

The father-of-two was shot dead on his doorstep in November 2004, just three days after the local authority had sent the Havelock Hotel in Nairn in the Highlands the details of his objections

Detectives travelled to Canada earlier this year to interview the hotel’s former owner, Andy Burnet. He said last week: ‘I’m not a suspect and I never have been.’

Mr Wilson had been reading a bedtime story to his children when his wife Veronica answered the door of their home in Crescent Road to his killer, who asked for him by name.

Her husband went to the door, where he was handed a blue envelope with the name ‘Paul’ written on it. After briefly going back inside, he returned to the door and was fatally shot.

Mrs Wilson dialled 999 and also rushed to the Havelock Hotel for help. She was assisted by the head chef Stuart Wright and several customers including an off-duty nurse who tried to save her dying husband.

Mr Burnet moved to Nova Scotia in 2013 with his wife Lynn, who is Canadian, and has said he was surprised to be contacted by police.

He had been friends with Mr Wilson and they played golf together before apparently falling out over the decking in the carpark of the hotel.

In an interview with the Sun last week, Mr Burnet said he was ‘not hiding’ in Canada and that his family were ‘trying to move on’.

He said: ‘The police had a plan on what they wanted to speak to me about.

‘They were being thorough and going through everything they thought I could help them with.

‘I’m not a suspect and I never have been.

‘It had no relation to me other than somebody they thought I might have known. I didn’t particularly know them.

‘I think they got the information they were looking for.’

Mr Burnet had been on a night off and was having a pint in the nearby Shambles bar but ran back to the hotel after being alerted by one of the regulars.

The head chef later settled an unfair dismissal claim with Mr Burnet, who he said sacked him for closing the hotel early on the night of the murder.

Detectives interviewed staff and customers from the Havelock at the time, but are now appealing for anyone with information about the construction of the decking to come forward.

Police Scotland officers are convinced Mr Wilson’s personal life, rather than his work at Bank of Scotland, will provide the answer to why he was murdered 

Mr Wilson had been reading a bedtime story to his children when his wife Veronica answered the door of their home in Crescent Road to his killer, who asked for him by name. Her husband went to the door, where he was handed a blue envelope with the name ‘Paul’ written on it. After briefly going back inside, he returned to the door and was fatally shot

The retrospective planning application was approved by councillors the year after Mr Wilson died.

Police Scotland have also recently reviewed witness accounts and analysis of timings from the night of the murder, and changed the description of the man they are hunting.

The killer had at first been believed to be aged between 30 and 40, but police now say he was between 20 and 40. He was approximately 5ft 7in tall and was wearing a baseball cap and jacket.

Last month an appeal was issued about two men who were seen with a handgun on East Beach in Nairn a month before Mr Wilson was killed.

The witness reported seeing two men, one aged in his 20s, who was holding the gun, and the other between 40 and 60 years old.

Det Supt Mackie said: ‘We have been very clear that time is no barrier to justice and I hope these recent appeals will further reassure the public that we are determined to bring Alistair’s killer to justice.

‘I would like to thank the local community for the positive response to our recent appeals for information.’ 

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