Date: 30 Nov 2004
Alistair Wilson was shot in Nairn on his doorstep at 10 Crescent Road in Nairn on Sunday 30 November 2004 at about 7.15pm.
He was taken to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness where he later died at 8.15pm. He had been shot in the head twice and once in his body.
He was shot by a stocky clean-shaven man, aged 20-40, between 5ft 4in and 5ft 7in tall, wearing a dark blouson jacket and a baseball cap pulled over his eyes who had handed him a blue or green A4 envelope before shooting him, the contents of which have not yet been revealed by the police. When the man had called his wife had answered the door and he had asked for Alistair Wilson by name. His wife then called for Alistair Wilson who had been upstairs who then went to the door to see the man who he spoke to for about 2-3 minutes before going back in to speak to his wife again and show her the envelope that the man had given him. When Alistair Wilson went back to the door the man shot him three times. It was thought that when the man fled he had taken the envelope with him as it had gone.
After shooting Alistair Wilson the stocky man had headed off towards the seafront.
It was initially said that it was thought that Alistair Wilson had known what was in the envelope which it was said he didn't open. The contents of the envelope were not initially disclosed. However, in November 2017 it was revealed that the envelope had been a blue greeting card style envelope with the word Paul written on it and that it had been empty.
When Alistair Wilson had gone back in to see his wife he had said something to her, but what he said has not been disclosed, other than the fact that it had made reference to the envelope. However, his wife had not heard any of the conversation that Alistair Wilson had had with the man at the door, saying that all she heard were muffled sounds. However, Alistair Wilson had told his wife that he had not known the man at the door. The man had been at the door for about seven minutes in total. It was said that after Alistair Wilson had first gone back to speak to his wife he had appeared to have finished speaking to the man at the door but was said to have made the decision to go back and see him.
The police said that they thought that his murder was planned, although they said that its execution was bizarre as they could not determine why he was not shot straight away when the man first came to the door. It was also noted that after Alistair Wilson had left the man at the door to go back and speak to his wife with the envelope that he had not appeared to have had the intention of going back to see the man at the door and it was only after going back that the man then seemed to make the decision to shoot him. The police said that they could not determine a motive for his murder.
However, it was later suggested by a former detective that the murderer had not gone to Alistair Wilson's home with the intention of shooting him but had instead gone there to make him an offer and that if Alistair Wilson had accepted that he would not have shot him.
In April 2022 the police said that they thought that the most likely motive behind his murder was a planning dispute as he had objected to a large decking area outside a hotel opposite his house shortly before his murder. It was heard that Alistair Wilson had said that the decking was the cause of noise and litter problems. It was heard that the decking at the Havelock Hotel opposite Alistair Wilson's house was built in the spring of 2004 without the required planning consent and was the subject of a retrospective planning application at the time Alistair Wilson was shot. Alistair Wilson had lodged a written objection with Highland Council and a copy of his objection was sent to the hotel to days before his murder. It was said that his objection to the planning permission was openly talked about in the pub.
A detective said, 'Today 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'. He said that Alistair Wilson's objection may have caused an inconvenience to those involved in building it or using it. The detective went on to say, 'So, you may have a relatively minor matter that results in conflict and the potential for a level of violence that is totally disproportionate to what happens. These things do happen, fallouts over objections to car parking, planning permission that result in conflict'.
The detective said that they were trying to identify who could have been involved in the construction of the original decking in 2004 as well as anyone else that might have visited the Havelock Hotel the weekend of the murder.
The retired detective who had gone to Nairn to carry out his own investigation also said that the motive was common knowledge amongst some members of the legal profession in the central belt but that they didn't speak up for fear of being shot themselves.
CCTV footage was examined but nothing was found that could help with the case.
He was shot with a Haenel Suhl Model 1 Schmeisser .25 calibre pistol that was made in East Germany in the 1920's and is considered rare with only 40 thousand made although often found on the black markets of eastern Europe. The ammunition had been made in the Czech Republic between 1983 and 1993 by Sellier and Bellot. It was found in a drain by council workers who had been gully cleaning in Seabank Road, Nairn, about a mile from 10 Crescent Road, ten days later on 8 December 2004. In November 2017 it was stated that eleven Haenel Suhl Model 1 Schmeisser guns have been found in the UK, three of them in Scotland, and that two of them had been found in Nairn. It was said that the fact that two of them being found in Nairn was quite significant and that World War Two links seemed to explain their presence in Nairn.
The cleaner that found the gun, a 52-year-old man from Elgin, said that it was pure luck that he did so. He said, 'It was pure luck we cleaned them out when we did, and it was pure luck the gun wasn’t sucked right up the pump. It would have never been found again'.
The police said in October 2006 that they had traced the man that had supplied the gun, but that the records did not go back far enough to show who bought it.
During their investigation in June 2007 the police carried out DNA testing of about 1,000 men.
It was noted that in February 2005 that Alistair Wilson's wife denied all involvement in the killing.
Alistair Wilson had worked for the Bank of Scotland where he ran a business banking team. He had started with the bank in around 1999 in Fort William and later moved to Edinburgh and then to Inverness where he joined the business banking branch in November 1999. However, he had just secured a new job with the Building Research Establishment (BRE), and was due to leave the bank at the end of the following week, Friday 3 December 2004. He was going to be a commercial director at a new Inverness office in the consultancy business. They had been in Nairn for about two years and had run their home as a hotel and restaurant although the business closed shortly after. His business dealings were described as squeaky clean.
He lived with his wife and two children and had been putting his children to bed at the time the man called.
Alistair Wilson's funeral was held on 6 April 2005 at St Andrew's Episcopal Church in Fort William.
In March 2022 a witness was interviewed by the police in Canada. It was soon after reported that the aged of the murderer, which was initially stated to have been 35 to 40 could have been as young as 20 and the police revised the suspects age range to 20 to 40 years old. The person that the police interviewed in Canada in March 2022 was said to have been a key witness regarding the planning application.
It was soon after reported that two men had been seen on East Beach in Nairn, a short walk from Alistair Wilson's home, with a gun a month before the murder. It was said that one of the men had been in his 20s and the other between 40 and 60.
see BBC Murder probe police hail DNA plea
see BBC Family of Nairn banker Alistair Wilson make new appeal
see BBC Police investigate new information on Alistair Wilson murder
see The Scottish Sun
see Herald Scotland
see The Guardian
see Daily Record
see Amazon - To Catch A Killer - My Hunt for the Truth Behind the Doorstep Murder: My Hunt for the Truth Behind the Doorstep Murder by Peter Bleksley