Planning application ‘significant’ in unsolved murder of banker, police say

·4-min read

A local planning application may be significant to the unsolved murder of a banker in the Highlands in 2004, police have revealed.

Alistair Wilson, who was murdered at his home in Nairn in 2004, objected to a retrospective planning application for a large decking area outside the Havelock Hotel opposite his property.

Police now believe this to be significant to the enquiry into his death.

Mr Wilson was shot dead on his doorstep on Crescent Road at around 7pm on Sunday, November 28, 2004, after a man called at the family’s home on Crescent Road, Nairn, spoke to his wife Veronica, who answered the door 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.

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

Detectives travelled to Canada to interview a key witness recently and are appealing for the public’s help in gathering more information.

Alistair Wilson murder
Detective Inspector Gary Winter (left) and Andrew Wilson, 20, son of Alistair Wilson, during a press conference at Inverness police headquarters (Jane Barlow/PA) Media

Police Scotland’s Major Investigation Team have also confirmed they believe that the answer to his murder lies in his personal life and is not connected to his work with the Bank of Scotland.

Detective Superintendent Graeme Mackie said: “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.”

Police say that he did not voice his disapproval for the decking to many other people but did submit this formally to Moray Council.

Mr Mackie said: “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.

“Through significant enquiries being carried out we believe the answer to Alistair’s murder lies within his personal life and not in his role with the bank.

“Someone locally will have that piece of information that could be crucial to catching his killer and providing answers for his family.”

Last month, a witness reported he saw a man in possession of a handgun on East Beach in Nairn around a month before the fatal shooting after police launched an appeal. He was with another man aged between 40 and 60 years old.

A description of a man they want to trace in connection with Mr Wilson’s murder has been altered following further review of witness accounts and timing of the events on the night in question.

Police believe the man who shot Mr Wilson was aged between 20 and 40 years and now detectives are looking for a man in his mid-30s to almost 60 years old. He was approximately 5ft 7in tall and was wearing a baseball cap and jacket.

Mr 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.”

Anyone who believes they can assist police is asked to contact 101 quoting incident 515 of 4 March 2022 and Operation Sorn or you can e-mail a dedicated inbox at