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

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

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

A planning objection to a hotel’s wooden decking could be at the centre of a historic murder case which saw a father-of-two shot to death on his doorstep almost 20 years ago. 

Banker Alistair Wilson, 30, was assassinated at around 7pm on November 28, 2004, outside his home on Crescent road in Nairn, Scotland, while his two young sons played upstairs. 

The killing came after Mr Wilson, a Bank of Scotland employee, had formally complained to the council about the Havelock Hotel opposite his property, which he said was causing noise pollution and litter by building a new decking area in its car park.  

The local council informed the business of his objections just three days before he was murdered, and police believe the complaint could be crucial to cracking the case.  

On the night of the killing, a lone gunman asked for Mr Wilson by name, before handing him a mysterious blue envelope and carrying out the execution just metres away from his horrified wife. 

There have yet to be any significant leads in finding the shooter, although witnesses claimed to have seen two men handling a gun on nearby East Beach, around a month before the hit. 

Police believe the killer to be 5ft7 and aged between 20 and 40 at the time of the shooting. He used a distinctive Haenel Suhl pocket pistol from the 1930s, with bullets from the 1980s or 90s, providing a potential clue to his identity. 

The owner of the hotel at the time, Andy Burnet, who moved to Canada in 2013, said he was not being investigated by police after detectives travelled to Nova Scotia to interview him earlier this year. 

Mr Burnet told the Sun: ‘I’m not a suspect and I never have been.’ 

Mr Wilson, a Bank of Scotland worker, had formally complained to the council about the hotel opposite his property, which was building a new decking area (pictured) in its car park.

Mr Wilson, a Bank of Scotland worker, had formally complained to the council about the hotel opposite his property, which was building a new decking area (pictured) in its car park.

Mr Wilson, a Bank of Scotland worker, had formally complained to the council about the hotel opposite his property, which was building a new decking area (pictured) in its car park. 

Mr Wilson accused the Havelock Hotel of causing noise pollution and litter. The local council informed the business of his objections just three days before he was murdered. (Pictured: Mr Wilson's property sitting across the road from the decking)

Mr Wilson accused the Havelock Hotel of causing noise pollution and litter. The local council informed the business of his objections just three days before he was murdered. (Pictured: Mr Wilson's property sitting across the road from the decking)

Mr Wilson accused the Havelock Hotel of causing noise pollution and litter. The local council informed the business of his objections just three days before he was murdered. (Pictured: Mr Wilson’s property sitting across the road from the decking)

Former hotel owner Andy Burnet (pictured) 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 said he had been friends with Mr Wilson and that they played golf together.

Former hotel owner Andy Burnet (pictured) 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 said he had been friends with Mr Wilson and that they played golf together.

Former hotel owner Andy Burnet (pictured) 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 said he had been friends with Mr Wilson and that they played golf together.

There have yet to be any significant leads in finding the shooter, although witnesses claimed to have seen two men handling a gun on nearby East Beach, around a month before the hit in Nairn, in the Scottish Highlands.

There have yet to be any significant leads in finding the shooter, although witnesses claimed to have seen two men handling a gun on nearby East Beach, around a month before the hit in Nairn, in the Scottish Highlands.

There have yet to be any significant leads in finding the shooter, although witnesses claimed to have seen two men handling a gun on nearby East Beach, around a month before the hit in Nairn, in the Scottish Highlands. 

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. (Pictured: Forensic teams outside the home following the shooting)

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. (Pictured: Forensic teams outside the home following the shooting)

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. (Pictured: Forensic teams outside the home following the shooting)

Plans of the Havelock Hotel, with the controversial decking area highlighted

Plans of the Havelock Hotel, with the controversial decking area highlighted

Plans of the Havelock Hotel, with the controversial decking area highlighted 

The handgun used was a Haenel Suhl pocket pistol from the 1930s which has a distinctive H and S letters superimposed on the grip. (stock image)

The handgun used was a Haenel Suhl pocket pistol from the 1930s which has a distinctive H and S letters superimposed on the grip. (stock image)

The handgun used was a Haenel Suhl pocket pistol from the 1930s which has a distinctive H and S letters superimposed on the grip. (stock image)

It comes two years after Mr Wilson’s son Andrew, now 22, made an emotional appeal for witnesses to come forward, adding: ‘The only memory of my dad I’m left with is the image of him lying on the doorstep.’     

On the decking row, Detective Superintendent Graeme Mackie said this week: ‘Shortly before his murder, Alistair had objected to the building of a large decking area within the car park of the Havelock Hotel, directly opposite the family home which he said was responsible for increased noise and litter in the area. 

‘The decking was built in the summer of 2004 and subject to a retrospective planning application at the time of the murder.

‘While we cannot rule out any scenario, we believe this could be significant to our enquiries and I am asking anyone with information about this issue to please come forward and speak with officers.

‘Alistair did not disclose his disapproval regarding the decking to many people, however we understand that his formal objection was sent by the Local Authority to the Havelock Hotel on the Thursday before his murder and knowledge of his objections became public before his murder on the Sunday, which may be significant.

‘I would also appeal to anyone who was involved in the building of the decking area at the Havelock Hotel in 2004 to come forward.’ 

Mr Wilson had been reading a bedtime story to his children when his wife Veronica answered the door of their home 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.

It comes two years after Mr Wilson's son Andrew, now 22, made an emotional appeal for witnesses to come forward, adding: 'The only memory of my dad I'm left with is the image of him lying on the doorstep.' (Pictured: Original reporting of the killing in the Daily Mail back in 2004)

It comes two years after Mr Wilson's son Andrew, now 22, made an emotional appeal for witnesses to come forward, adding: 'The only memory of my dad I'm left with is the image of him lying on the doorstep.' (Pictured: Original reporting of the killing in the Daily Mail back in 2004)

It comes two years after Mr Wilson’s son Andrew, now 22, made an emotional appeal for witnesses to come forward, adding: ‘The only memory of my dad I’m left with is the image of him lying on the doorstep.’ (Pictured: Original reporting of the killing in the Daily Mail back 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

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

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

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

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

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 

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.

Former hotel owner 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 said he had been friends with Mr Wilson and that they played golf together. 

He added: ‘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 still cannot believe it’: Emotional appeal made by son of victim Alistair Wilson, whose lasting memory of his father is seeing him lying in the hallway ‘covered in blood’ 

Alistair Wilson, 30, was shot to death on his doorstep in Nairn, Scotland, in November 2004. 

His killer has never been caught while the motive for the hit remains uncertain.  

In a heartfelt appeal in 2020, Mr Wilson’s son Andrew Wilson urged witnesses to come forward so he and his family could have ‘closure’. 

He wrote: ‘Someone came to our family home on a Sunday evening while my dad was reading my brother and me bedtime stories after our bath. 

‘The next thing I know I am looking at my dad lying in our doorway covered in blood.

‘My dad and I missed out on so many things together, showing me how to tie a tie, driving lessons and taking me for my first pint.

‘I am now a 20-year-old with little answers regarding my dad’s death. 

‘For the last 16 years I have been left wondering why I didn’t have a dad like all my friends.

‘I still cannot believe how someone could shoot my dad dead on our doorstep while my brother and I were upstairs.

‘The only memory of my dad I’m left with is the image of him lying on the doorstep.

‘Photographs are all I have and no family should suffer the way we have all these years.

‘I am appealing on behalf of my family to anyone who may have any information, no matter how big or small to please come forward. 

‘Someone out there could have the missing piece of information.

 ‘Nothing can bring my dad back but knowing who did this and why could give us the closure we need. 

‘Any information could be crucial to our case.’

 

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‘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.

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.’ 

The handgun used was small and distinctive Haenel Suhl pocket pistol.

Speaking in 2020, detective inspector Gary Winter said: ‘The handgun used was a Haenel Suhl pocket pistol from the 1930s which has a distinctive H and S letters superimposed on the grip.

‘We believe this weapon is likely to have been taken to the UK after World War Two as some form of souvenir, however the ammunition used in the murder is from the 1980s or 90s.

‘Do you know of anyone who had a similar pocket pistol? 

‘Do you know of anyone who mentioned having firearm souvenirs from the World War Two or from any family who were World War Two veterans?… Do not assume that the police already know the information you possess.’ 

In a heartfelt appeal the same year, Mr Wilson’s son Andrew Wilson said: ‘Someone came to our family home on a Sunday evening while my dad was reading my brother and me bedtime stories after our bath. 

‘The next thing I know I am looking at my dad lying in our doorway covered in blood.’

He said that he and his father ‘missed out on so many things together’, like ‘taking me for my first pint.’   

He said he was still left with little answers about what led to his father’s murder.  

He added: ‘I still cannot believe how someone could shoot my dad dead on our doorstep while my brother and I were upstairs.

‘The only memory of my dad I’m left with is the image of him lying on the doorstep…

‘Nothing can bring my dad back but knowing who did this and why could give us the closure we need. 

‘Any information could be crucial to our case.’


Source: This post first appeared on

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