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Nairn banker’s family in row over claims of potential murder suspect arrest U-turn

Alistair Wilson was gunned down on his Nairn doorstep by an unknown shooter who has evaded police capture for more than 19 years.

Graphic showing Alistair Wilson surrounded by collage of police officers searching for clues.
The investigation into Alistair Wilson's murder continues 19 years on. Images: DC Thomson

The family of Nairn banker, Alistair Wilson, have made a complaint about about the handling of his murder investigation.

It’s believed relations between Police Scotland and the family of Mr Wilson, 30, who was brutally gunned down on his doorstep, have suffered a catastrophic breakdown.

A row appears to have erupted after relatives were reportedly told of a potentially imminent arrest of a suspect who was then never detained for further questioning.

The alleged U-turn has sparked formal complaints being made to the constabulary’s Professional Standards Department – the Mail on Sunday has reported – as well as with the Crown Office.

It’s understood that a request has since been made for the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) to look into the issue and examine the force’s handling of the original complaint.

Authorities respond to arrest complaint by Alistair Wilson’s family

A spokesman for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) confirmed to The Press and Journal that justice officials have met with the Wilsons.

He said a gathering had previously been arranged “to discuss the matters raised by them in relation to the ongoing investigation”.

The COPFS staffer added that the “thoughts” of prosecutors, who are directing the murder enquiry into Mr Wilson’s fatal shooting, “remain with his family”.

And he promised that grieving relatives, who’ve waited more than 19 years for justice, “will continue to be informed, where appropriate, of significant developments”.

A Police Scotland spokeswoman also confirmed to The P&J that it had “received a complaint which has been responded to”.

She went on to say that the live murder enquiry “remains ongoing” and that detectives “are committed to conducting a full and thorough enquiry that will hopefully provide much-needed answers to Alistair’s family.

“We continue to update them on our progress,” the statement ended.

Motive for Nairn banker’s murder

No one has ever been charged with Mr Wilson’s murder.

The vicious attack, which involved a World War One handgun, came days after the father-of-two lodged a formal objection to a new decking area outside the Havelock Hotel pub opposite his home on Crescent Road.

The decking had been installed without planning permission before the venue’s owner at the time, Andy Burnet, applied for it retrospectively.

Mr Wilson’s letter of objection complained about beer glasses and broken glass “strewn in the street” and his family feeling “uncomfortable” with customers “staring” at them.

The type of gun used to kill Alistair Wilson was a very small pocket pistol. Image: Police Scotland

The document was sent to Highland Council’s planning department the week that he was gunned down outside his property.

A copy of the correspondence – revealing his identity – was then sent to the pub landlord two days before the banker died.

Mr Burnet has previously assisted officers as a potential witness but is not being treated with suspicion.

At around 7pm on Sunday November 28 2004, the then-Bank of Scotland employee was blasted to the ground.

A .265 Haenel Suhl Schmeisser World War 1 pistol – believed to be the murder weapon – was found in a nearby drain ten days later.

Person of interest could be suspect in Alistair Wilson’s murder but arrest needed for Nairn banker death probe to move forward

A television documentary called “Murder On The Doorstep: Who Killed Alistair Wilson?” aired on Channel 5  last year, on Thursday December 1 at 9pm.

On the programme, detectives revealed that the murderer’s motive was thought to be linked with the decking planning application row.

At the time of broadcast, The Press and Journal had been made aware of a person of interest in detectives’ sights.

The former emergency service worker turned convicted criminal, who lived in Nairn, regularly drank at the Havelock Hotel.

Alistair Wilson and the Havelock Hotel in Nairn
Alistair Wilson, 30, lived opposite the Havelock Hotel on Nairn’s Crescent Road. Image: Police Scotland/DC Thomson

Most recently he was serving a prison sentence for a drugs offence, The P&J reported in June this year.

When detectives investigate any criminality, officers must first identify persons of interest and then make attempts to eliminate them from their enquiry.

If a person, whom police have been unable to rule out, remains of interest to them, they may then be treated as a suspect – requiring their arrest for questioning with the option of a lawyer present, to move the investigation forward.

Anyone with information can telephone the police enquiry team by calling 101 or send an email to: