May 31, 2022

The Murder Of Alistair Wilson

The Murder Of Alistair Wilson

Nairn, a small town located in the Scottish Highlands renowned for its fishing port and stunning scenery. Nairn is a quiet town of around 10,000 people, filled with couples looking to start a family and raise their children in the town. In 2004, the residents of Nairn would get the shock of their lives in what has become Police Scotland’s biggest ever murder inquiry. With the 20th anniversary of the crime right around the corner in 2024, Police Scotland is still left asking the question, who shot banker Alistair Wilson and why?

 

Alistair Wilson, his wife Veronica and their two children lived in Nairn, Scotland and by all accounts, the Wilson were your average, happy family. Alistair worked as a business manager for the Royal Bank of Scotland, which in 2004 was a very good job to have. Alistair and Veronica met when Alistair moved from North Ayrshire to Fort William after completing his degree in accountancy and business law. The two fell in love, got married and had two children and by all accounts were a normal family. 

The Wilson’s lived their lives, day in, day out, not anticipating that something very bizarre was about to happen to them. Alistair and Veronica looked forward to watching their children grow up, wondering which school they would go to and what careers they would choose. Sadly, Alistair never got to see his two children grow up, thanks to one chilly night in November 2004.

 

November 28th 2004 started like any other for the Wilson’s, everyone went about their day and returned home at tea time. The family sat down for tea before getting their two children ready for bed. As Veronica tidied up downstairs, Alistair was upstairs, reading his two sons a bedtime story. For his two sons, this would be the last ever memory of their father. At around 7:00 pm the quiet of the Wilson house was interrupted by a knock at the door.

 

As Alistair was reading the children a bedtime story, Veronica went to see who it was. As she opened the door, she was greeted by an unidentified man between the ages of 20 and 40 years old, wearing a baseball cap, a dark blue jacket and blue jeans. Veronica didn’t recognize the man, but before she could speak, the mysterious man uttered two words “Alistair Wilson.” Confused, Veronica ventured upstairs to find her husband and sent him downstairs to speak to the man at the door.

Moments later, Alistair returned upstairs with a strange blue envelope with the name “Paul” written on it. There was nothing inside the envelope and both Alistair and Veronica were seriously confused by what had just happened. Alistair turned to his wife and asked whether the mysterious man at the door had specifically asked for him, which she confirmed. With this confirmation, Alistair headed back downstairs. As Veronica was tending to the children, she heard 3 gunshots and the thud of her husband hitting the ground.

Veronica ran downstairs in a panic, desperate to save her husband, but it was too late. Alistair was dead and the mysterious man and the blue envelope were gone. Alistair’s son, Andrew who was just 4 years old at the time told News STV “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.” 

 

Veronica ran to the nearest phone, dialed 999 and within minutes, the once quiet Wilson residence was now abuzz with activity. Police and paramedics both responded to the scene where they determined that Alistair was deceased. Veronica relayed the entire story to police officers between gasps and choked tears, wishing that she was in a terrible nightmare. With Alistair declared deceased, he was transported to the nearest hospital for a full autopsy. 

No forensic evidence was found at the scene, the mysterious blue envelope with ‘Paul’ written on it had disappeared with the perpetrator and there were no fingerprints or fibers to speak of. With guns being outlawed in the UK, the police were keen to zero in on the weapon used on Alistair. The vital breakthrough would come 10 days after Alistair was shot when a council worker found the gun discarded in a drain just 15 minutes away from Alistair’s home. According to reports, the gun was a 0.25 caliber Haenel Suhl pocket pistol that was made in Germany between 1922 and 1925. The gun had later been modified to fit modern bullets and forensic experts concluded that the bullets were made between 1980 and 1990. 

Even with all this information about the weapon, the police were still no closer to finding their suspect. These weapons would not have been registered anywhere and it is not something that could be easily traced. With this line of enquiry dwindling, the police began to take another look at the account of the mysterious man. According to a Daily Mail article, Veronica and a couple staying at the adjacent hotel are the only people to have seen the suspect. He was not captured on any CCTV in the area, meaning he either knew how to evade the cameras or lived close to Alistair, thus not triggering any CCTV cameras. 

 

This is when Veronica’s story began to fall apart, at least in the eyes of some. The strange blue envelope that Alistair had been handed was not at the scene and she was one of only 3 people to have seen the gunman. Many in the British media began pointing the finger at her, claiming that she was a wicked woman who had gotten rid of her husband. These rumour were quickly cleared up by the police. So if it wasn’t the wife, then who could be responsible for this senseless crime? There are numerous theories as to what happened to Alistair Wilson and they range from sensible to outright unbelievable. 

 

The first theory is that Alistair upset one of his clients, either in his private life or professional life. According to those who worked with Alistair, his multi-million £ loan had been rejected, causing him to leave the company and look for a job elsewhere. Some have speculated that an angry investor was responsible for the shooting. Alistair’s loan was rejected and perhaps that meant he was no longer able to go forward on the project that had already received investment. Or perhaps one of his clients at the bank was unhappy with him for whatever reason. 

 

At one point in the British media, there were even whisperings of money laundering or some other illegal activity. In the days after Alistair’s passing, he was due to start a new job with an environmental consulting firm and some believe that this has something to do with his demise, although the police have not been able to find any evidence to back this up. With theories and rumour swirling around, it was hard to discern what was fact and what was fiction and in 2017, another bizarre twist would be added to the Alistair Wilson case.

 

In 2017, rugby player turned radio host John Beattie received an anonymous call from a man who claimed to know what happened to Alistair. As reported by the Daily Mail “The man, who would only give his name as Peter, said he had a businessman friend who banked at Alistair’s branch but also had dealings with a Northern Irish paramilitary group. That businessman had apparently confided in Peter that he had been threatened with violence if he should ever renege on deals. Peter told the radio presenter that the businessman claimed an Irish man warned him ‘You do realize that I can do to you what I did to Mr. Wilson’.” 

 

The police followed this lead but found no substantial evidence to prove that a paramilitary group was involved in Alistair’s death. Alistair’s case has no shortage of bizarre twists and turns and in 2019, a man by the name of Peter Moore came forward with a very strange theory. Peter Moore had also worked for the Bank of Scotland, which became Halifax Bank of Scotland in the early 2000s. In fact, just weeks before Alistair was shot, Peter was sacked after he blew the whistle on his company. 

Peter was in charge of good practice management and risk management and was set to expose a huge controversy for the bank. Peter “raised the alarm over a loans strategy that would finally overwhelm the bank giant, leading to a £20.5 billion taxpayer bailout.” Was the bank planning to purposely fail in order to run away with a £20.5 billion bailout? It certainly wouldn’t be the first, or last time in British history that the taxpayer has footed the bill for the banks. Just weeks after Peter lost his job, Alistair was shot and since that day, he has wondered whether Alistair was also going to raise the alarm. 

 

According to the police, Alistair’s financial records were combed through and no suspicious banking activity was ever found. There are theories that perhaps Alistair had been involved in dodgy lendings or money laundering, but the investigation found no evidence of this. With all of these theories, there is one more theory I would like to introduce that has just recently come to light. 

 

In May 2022, new evidence came to light that might finally lead us to Alistair’s killer. In the months before his death, Alistair had opposed a building project at the adjacent Havelock Hotel which was owned and managed by Alistair's friend, Andy Burnet. Andy had wanted to install a decking outside of the hotel to allow guests to drink and smoke outside and extend the drinking area they already had. When Alistair heard of the plans, he put an objection in with the council, saying that it would bring more litter and noise to the area. Andy eventually found out that Alistair had rejected the idea and the two had fallen out. 

 

According to reports, in early 2022, the police flew out to Nova Scotia, where Andy now lives to re-interview and question him. Andy later told the Sun Newspaper “They had a discussion with me about something which I don’t really want to talk to you about. 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.” He also went on to tell the Daily Mail “I’m not a suspect and I never have been. The police were being thorough and going through everything they thought I could help them with.” 

 

Interestingly, the police declined Andy’s offer to fly back to Scotland, instead insisting that they would fly out to Canada and be accompanied by the RCMP. The police and Andy had several meetings online, so it does beg the question, why would they travel all that way for a simple questioning? It seems rather excessive to fly all the way to Canada, just for one interview. Does Andy know more than he is letting on, or is he an innocent party caught up in all of this?

 

There are, of course, rumours and theories that Alistair was a spy or involved in something shady and that the envelope was a coded message from someone and when Alistair couldn’t deliver, he paid the ultimate price. One user on Reddit commented how PAUL may have meant “Pay and U Live” but again, this is just a theory. Alistair and the mysterious man apparently had a short, 2-minute conversation on the doorstep before Alistair went to head back inside and was shot. What were they talking about? Did Veronica overhear any of this conversation? 

Alistair’s case is filled with so many ‘what-ifs’, so many bizarre outlandish theories and connections that aren’t really substantial. For Andrew, Alistair’s eldest son, all these salacious headlines do is bring up the painful past that he is desperate to solve. Andrew has been the driving force behind seeking justice for his father. He has given interviews and made numerous appeals for anyone with information to come forward. I believe that there are person(s) that know more than they are saying and that they hold the key to unlocking this mystery. Anyone with information is asked to contact 101 or email SCDHolmesABERDEEN@scotland.pnn.police.uk