It’s a November evening in the Scottish highlands, and Alistair Wilson is putting his sons to bed. Suddenly, the doorbell rings, and a man hands over a mysterious blue envelope. Minutes later, Alistair is dying – the victim of a shooting that remains unsolved to this day.
Alistair grew up in Kilbirnie, a small town on Scotland’s west coast. After studying accountancy and business law at university, he began working for the Bank of Scotland. At first, he was stationed in Fort William, a highland settlement some 110 miles from his hometown.
After a while, Alistair left rural Scotland for the city. After a stint in Edinburgh, he moved to Inverness, where he joined his employer’s business banking team. There, he took responsibility for small to medium-sized firms, dealing with companies in far-flung places such as Orkney and the Western Isles.
By that time, however, Alistair’s family was growing. He had met and married a Fort William woman named Veronica, and she had given birth to a son, Andrew. Then, two years later, another son, Graham, came along. Now with young children in tow, the pair decided to relocate once more.
Eventually, Alistair and his family settled in Nairn, a picturesque seaside town on Scotland’s eastern coast. Just 17 miles from Inverness, it was within commuting distance to the city center. There, they bought a large house and set about running it as a restaurant and hotel.
Sadly, the business was short lived, and the Wilsons soon shut up shop. However, they continued to live in the property as their family home. Then, in 2004 Alistair found a new job at an environmental consultancy firm and decided to leave the Bank of Scotland for good.
In November 2004, Alistair was still working in his old job, although he was just about to embark on his change of career. Sadly, the 30-year-old would never set foot inside his new place of work. Instead, on the evening of November 28, Alistair was settling Andrew, four, and Graham, two, in bed when tragedy struck.
At about 7:00 p.m., Alistair was in the boys’ shared bedroom reading them a nighttime story. Suddenly, the doorbell rang. Although the Wilsons were not expecting a visitor at this hour, Veronica made her way downstairs to see who had arrived.
When Veronica answered the door, she saw a man in his late 30s wearing a dark jacket and a baseball cap. He asked for Alistair by name, and Veronica duly sent her husband downstairs. A short time later, he reappeared in their sons’ room, clutching a blue envelope addressed to someone called Paul.
At first, Veronica and Alistair were merely puzzled by the encounter. But when Alistair went back downstairs to look for the man, three gunshots rang out through the house. By the time that Veronica got back to the front door, she found her husband drenched in blood.
In a panic, Veronica called for an ambulance before running across the road to the Havelock Hotel. But even though several people soon came to Alistair’s aid, it was too late. Sadly, he passed away from his injuries in hospital a short time afterwards.
Understandably, the small community of Nairn descended into shock. While neighbors lamented the shattering of peace in their quiet town, police arrived to investigate the crime. Then, ten days after the shooting, the murder weapon was recovered from a drain close to the Wilsons’ home.
However, this wasn’t quite the break in the case that investigators might have hoped. Instead, police spent years trying – and failing – to get to the bottom of the crime. Finally, in November 2017, they made an announcement. While they hadn’t found the culprit, they revealed that they had discovered a second weapon the year before.
Interestingly, this gun – which was recovered during a house clearance – was an exact copy of the weapon used to kill Alistair. Apparently, only 13 similar guns have ever been found in the United Kingdom. Detective Constable Ged Quinn told the BBC in November 2017, “Obviously, two of them were in Nairn, which would appear quite significant.”
Strangely, this wasn’t the only new development in the case. That same month, Birmingham City University criminology professor David Wilson told press about a mysterious package that he had received in the post. According to Wilson, it contained vital information relating to Alistair’s murder 13 years before.
In an interview with BBC Radio Scotland, David explained that the package had come courtesy of someone known only as Nate. Apparently, it contained claims that Veronica was not the only witness to the crime. If true, David claimed that it left the case “eminently solvable.”
On the program, David expressed confusion that police hadn’t been able to create an e-fit of the suspect, if claims of an independent witness were true. Then, in another twist, a man named Tommy Hogg contacted the show. Apparently, he had been on a local bus on the night of the shooting.
That night, Hogg spotted a strange, jumpy man sitting near him on the bus – wearing a dark jacket and a cap with a peak. Apparently, he had exited the vehicle and set off in the direction of the Wilsons’ house. But police claim to have had this information for some time, and that Hogg’s testimony was insufficient to produce an e-fit of the individual.
Over the years, investigators have delved into every aspect of Alistair’s life, hoping to find the reason that he was killed in cold blood. Was someone attempting to blackmail him, perhaps? Or had he uncovered some deadly secret during his time at the Bank of Scotland? And what exactly did the mysterious envelope – which has never been recovered – contain?
Today, the case is still unsolved, although a team of specialists in Edinburgh are working tirelessly on finding a solution. Meanwhile, Veronica has been left to try and make sense of it all. “I couldn’t even imagine why people are actually killed,” she told the BBC. “You know, you see things, other people, and you just presume there’s something dark or sinister in their life. But I knew Alistair inside out and there was nothing there.”