Detectives probing the mysterious shooting of Alastair Wilson on his doorstep in the Highlands believe a planning application for decking outside a hotel opposite his home could be key to the investigation.
The banker’s objection to the addition of an outdoor area yards from his front door in Nairn was discussed in the Havelock Hotel bar over the weekend leading up to his shooting in November 2004.
The case, one of the most notorious unsolved murders in Scotland, was subject to a fresh appeal last month, but officers believe they have a new lead after interviewing a key witness in Canada.
It is now thought one strand of the investigation – Mr Wilson’s employment with the Bank of Scotland – is not connected to his murder and the truth may lie in his “personal life”.
The father-of-two objected to the building of a large decking area in the car park outside the hotel on the grounds of increased volume of litter and noise.
That was lodged on November 25 – three days before his killing.
Detective superintendent Graeme Mackie, of Police Scotland’s major investigation team, said: “This would have been the first time Alistair’s objection to a retrospective planning application for the decking would have become public knowledge.
“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.”
The 30-year-old was killed in the Crescent Road area of the town at around 7pm on Sunday, November 28.
A man knocked on the door of the family home and spoke to his wife Veronica before asking for Mr Wilson by name.
He went downstairs to speak to the man and was handed a blue envelope with the name “Paul” on it.
He went inside briefly and then returned to the door when he was shot dead.
One witness reported seeing two men, one in their 20s and another between 40 and 60-years-old, on East Beach, Nairn.
The witness has said the younger man was in possession of a handgun.
Detectives working on Operation Sorn believe the man who murdered Mr Wilson was aged between 20 and 40-years-old at the time, and would now be 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.
DS 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.”
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