Highlands & Islands

Family of Nairn banker Alistair Wilson make new appeal

Alistair Wilson with sister Jillian Image copyright Wilson family handout
Image caption Alistair Wilson and his sister Jillian in a new image released by the Wilson family

The family of a bank manager shot dead on the doorstep of his home 10 years ago fear the murderer could kill again.

Father-of-two Alistair Wilson's murder in Nairn on the evening of 28 November 2004 remains unsolved.

In a statement, his family said the killer could cause another family the heartbreak they have had to endure.

Police have begun a new review of every piece of evidence and line of inquiry in the case in the hope of uncovering new clues.

Crimestoppers have also offered a reward of up to £5,000 for information leading to a conviction.

In the statement, the Wilson family said: "The past 10 years, since Alistair's murder, have been extremely tough for our family.

"It's been 10 years during which his young sons started primary school and then secondary school without a father in their lives.

"It's been 10 years that his widow, Veronica, has been a single mother and the extended family left without the person we loved and cherished."

The family said the motive for the shooting was a mystery and it was difficult for his wife and sons to achieve closure.

"We are confident that someone, somewhere, knows the identity of Alistair's killer - a man who is still at large," said the statement.

"He has killed once. He may kill again and cause another family the heartbreak we have endured."

The murder weapon

Image copyright Police scotland

Mr Wilson was shot with a German-made handgun by a stocky man in a baseball cap.

The Haenel Suhl Model 1 Schmeisser was manufactured between 1920 and 1945 at a Schmeisser factory in Germany.

The ammunition used was .25 calibre made by Sellier and Bellot in the Czech Republic between 1983 and 1993.

About 40,000 of the guns were produced in Germany and police suspect the weapon may have been brought back to the UK either as a war trophy, for legitimate export or on the black market.

Police Scotland is holding what is known as a homicide governance review.

The review is looking at previous investigations to ascertain if all possible lines of inquiry have been thoroughly exhausted.

Since the start of the inquiry, the police have taken more than 4,100 statements, gathered 2,700 pieces of potential evidence and carried out 11,000 actions as a result of investigations.

The early months of the police investigation involved a plea to people in Nairn and the surrounding area to voluntarily give DNA samples.

Tests on the gun failed to extract any DNA.

'Never closed'

Det Ch Supt Gary Flannigan said: "Over the course of a decade, detectives have worked tirelessly using a wide range of methodologies, seeking expert help from throughout the UK and considering advances in forensic science all in an effort to help detect this highly unusual crime.

"We will continue to appeal to anyone who has information to come forward."

He added: "While the information coming to us has slowed down, I know that someone somewhere knows exactly how and why Alistair was shot.

"Unsolved homicides are never closed. They remain open in the hope that the vital piece of evidence surfaces to help bring the investigation to a conclusion."

Nairn murder timeline

Image copyright Police Scotland

19:15 28 November 2004: Veronica Wilson answers the door to a man who asks to speak to her husband Alistair, who is putting their young sons to bed. He is handed an envelope, goes back inside and then on returning to the front door he is shot.

8 December 2004: The murder weapon is found in a drain by Highland Council workers about half a mile from the Wilsons' home.

February 2005: In an interview with the BBC, Mrs Wilson says she can only imagine that mistaken identity was the motive for the murder.

November 2005: Police release a recording of Mrs Wilson's 999 call. She is heard telling the operator: "My husband's been shot."

September 2013: Police Scotland's new Major Investigation Team North starts investigating the case.

Ch Supt Julian Innes, police commander for Highlands and Islands Division, said officers were "committed to bringing Alistair's killer to justice".

He added: "The support shown by the local community has been there from the start and remains as the impact of this dreadful crime is still felt.

"I remain hopeful that someone will have the vital piece of information that can make a difference."

Angela Parker, of Crimestoppers Scotland, appealed to the public to help find Mr Wilson's killer.

She said: "We would ask that anyone who thinks they may have information relating to this, no matter how small, should come forward and finally help Alistair's family obtain the answers they seek."

"All information passed to Crimestoppers is kept anonymous, a guarantee that has never been broken, so no-one need be in fear of their identity being revealed."

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