Alistair Wilson murder in Nairn: timeline of investigation into banker’s 2004 doorstep shooting in Scotland

Alistair Wilson was shot on his doorstep in November 2004, days later the murder weapon was found in a drain

<p>Alistair Wilson was shot dead on the doorstep of his home in Nairn, Scotland in 2004. His murder remains unsolved.</p>

Alistair Wilson was shot dead on the doorstep of his home in Nairn, Scotland in 2004. His murder remains unsolved.

It was a crime that shocked Scotland - and more than 17 years on the doorstep murder of Alistair Wilson remains unsolved.

Mr Wilson, 30, was shot in 2004 at his home in Nairn by an unidentified man. The murder weapon, a rare German handgun was found days later.

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Police recently said they believed the murder was linked to his personal life rather than his work as a banker. Officers have appealed for information over a planning application for a decking area outside a local hotel opposite his home which he had objected to shortly before his death.

Alistair Wilson was murdered on his doorstep in 2004.

Detectives have revealed they think the father-of-two’s objection was discussed in the hotel bar days before his murder and over the weekend up until his death two days later.

In the summer of 2004, Mr Wilson objected to the building of a large decking area within the car park of the hotel, which he said was responsible for increased noise and litter in the area, he had filed that objection with the local authority days prior to his death.

The investigation has seen a spate of appeals recently, with officers travelling to Canada earlier this year as part of the probe.

Here are some of the key moments of the investigation during the past 17 years.


28 November: Alistair Wilson is shot by an unidentified man on the doorstep of his family home In Nairn, Scotland. He had been reading his two sons a bedtime story just after 7pm when the man came to the door asking for him by name. He went downstairs to speak to the man and was handed a blue envelope. Mr Wilson went back inside briefly then returned to the door and was shot dead. He later died at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness.

8 December: - The murder weapon, a Haenel Schmeisser, a German handgun, is found in a drain not far from Mr Wilson’s home

10 December: Mr Wilson’s wife Veronica makes a public appeal for information as the hunt for the killer continues.


May: Reports from the time say officers from the then Northern Constabulary had sought the help of a German ballistics expert to date the weapon. It’s thought it was brought back to the UK by a soldier serving in the second world war. The ammunition dates to more recent times.


February:Police travel to Europe in a bid to trace where the gun and ammunition came from.

The tiny 'pocket pistol' used to murder Alistair Wilson


June: DNA testing of 1,000 local men begins.


September: New images are released of the weapon as part of a new appeal. Detectives say the gun was manufactured between 1920 and 1945 at the Schmeisser Factory in Germany, while the ammunition was made by Seiller&Bellot in the Czech Republic between 1983 and 1993.


November: Police say a blue envelope handed to Mr Wilson by the gunman just before he was shot was empty and inscribed with the name “Paul”.


October: Mr Wilson’s son, Andrew who was just 4 years old when his dad was killed makes an emotional appeal for information to try and find the murderer.

Timeline of investigation into Alistair Wilson’s murder.


March: Police Scotland reveals officers had travelled to Nova Scotia, Canada to carry out interviews with a key witness.

March: Officers revise the description of the gunman saying he may have been younger than first thought. They believe the man who murdered Mr Wilson was aged between 20 and 40 years old at the time, and would now be in his mid-30s to almost 60 years old.

He was approximately 5ft 7in tall and was wearing a baseball cap and jacket. Previous appeals described the gunman as being between 30 and 40 years old.

March: Detectives appeal for information about two men seen with a handgun on East Beach, Nairn, a month before the shooting.

April: Police say they believe the answer to his shooting lies in Mr Wilson’s personal life rather than his professional one as a banker. They appeal for information about a planning application he objected to shortly before his death for a decking area outside the Havelock Hotel opposite his home. Mr Wilson had filed the objection to the local authority on 25 November that year, three days before he was killed.

May: Officers say they believe this objection was discussed in the hotel bar on Friday, 26 November, 2004, and over the weekend up until Alistair’s murder on the Sunday night. They said it would have been the first time Alistair’s objection to a retrospective planning application for the decking would have become public knowledge. They have called on anyone in the hotel two days before the shooting to come forward.

Alistair Wilson, wife Veronica and their two sons. Mr Wilson was reading the boys a bedtime story when his killer arrived at the family home.

What have police said about the latest development?

Detective Superintendent Graeme Mackie, of Police Scotland’s major investigation team said: “This would have been the first time Alistair’s objection to a retrospective planning application for the decking would have become public knowledge.

He said “We want to know what was being said about it and who else was there as this may be significant to our investigation.

“I would ask anyone with information, no matter how insignificant they think it might be, to please come forward.”

Det Supt Mackie added: “Within the last two weeks two new witnesses have come forward with further information about the planning application and also the building of the decking.

“This new information is being examined as part of the investigation and I am greatly encouraged that even 17 years on we still have new witnesses coming forward to help catch Alistair’s killer.”