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Alistair Wilson’s planning objection was ‘openly talked about’ in a Nairn bar two days before he was murdered

A planning application for the Havelock Hotel in Nairn could be significant in the Alistair Wilson case.
A planning application for the Havelock Hotel in Nairn could be significant in the Alistair Wilson case.

Police investigating the murder of Nairn banker Alistair Wilson are appealing for anyone who was in a bar opposite his house two days before he was shot to come forward.

Detectives are focusing their attention on a planning application to build decking at the Havelock Hotel that Mr Wilson objected to.

The killing of the 30-year-old banker on November 28 2004 sent shockwaves through the Highlands and beyond.

Police recently travelled to Canada to interview a key witness about the planning application.

Was planning application discussion key to the murder?

Officers believe the objection was discussed in the Havelock Hotel bar on Friday November 26 and over the weekend up until Alistair’s murder on Sunday night.

Detective Superintendent Graeme Mackie said: “We understand through our inquiries that Alistair’s objection was openly talked about in the Havelock Hotel bar.

“We would urge anyone who was present over this period, or knows who was there, to please come forward and speak to us.

“This would have been the first time Alistair’s objection to a retrospective planning application for the decking would have become public knowledge.

Detective Superintendent Graeme Mackie.

“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.”

Officers from Police Scotland’s major investigations team said last month they now believe the answer to Alistair’s murder lies within his personal life – and is not connected to his job with the Bank of Scotland.

Two new witnesses have come forward

A fresh appeal for information also saw two new witnesses come forward.

Detective Superintendent 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.”

Father-of-two Alistair was shot around 7pm on November 28 2004.

Collage of Alistair Wilson smiling at the camera on a blurred police background.
Alistair Wilson was murdered on his doorstep on November 28 2004.

A man called at the family home in Crescent Road. He spoke to his wife Veronica and asked for her husband by name.

He went downstairs to speak to the man and was handed a blue envelope with the word “Paul” on it.

Alistair went inside briefly and then returned to the door for a second time when he was fatally shot.

Revised description of killer

Former Scotland Yard detective Peter Bleksley has studied the Alistair Wilson case in depth.

While discussing various theories, he previously said: “Now I know a planning dispute over some decking may not be the most serious matter and should not provide a motive for murder.

“But people have been killed for less.”

Criminologist David Wilson has raised questions about why police are discussing the planning application theory now when it was publicly known for so long.

Police also recently issued an appeal for information about two men seen with a handgun.

They were spotted on a beach in Nairn a month before Alistair’s murder.

Following the appeal, a witness has reported seeing two men, one aged in their 20s and the other between 40 and 60 years old on East Beach.

The witness said the younger man was in possession of a handgun.

Following a recent review of witness accounts, officers altered the description of the man they want to trace in connection with the murder.

Detectives believe the man who shot Alistair was aged between 20 and 40-years-old at the time.

This would mean he is now aged 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.

Anyone who believes they can assist police is asked to contact 101 or e-mail

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