Alistair Wilson murder: Killer was ‘master hitman’

Alistair Wilson and his wife Veronica. Picture: PA
Alistair Wilson and his wife Veronica. Picture: PA
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A LEADING criminologist fears the killer who shot down Scottish banker Alistair Wilson at point-blank range on his own doorstep in a sleepy Highland town will never be caught.

Professor David Wilson, an expert in profiling serial murderers, described the 30-year-old father-of-two’s murderer as the ultimate “master hit man”.

The callous shooting of the banker, a business manager for the Bank of Scotland at an Inverness branch, has baffled detectives for a decade.

And as the tenth anniversary of the execution approaches on Friday, Police Scotland revealed that they have launched a new strategic review, completely de-constructing previous casework in a bid to find a breakthrough.

Clackmannanshire-born Prof Wilson, a criminologist at Birmingham City University, however, has described the gunman as “the type that will never be caught”.

Having started researching the characteristics of assassins after serving Her Majesty’s Prison Service as a governor, his career brought him into contact with some of the most notorious offenders of the last 30 years, including Charles Bronson and Dennis Nilsen.

He said that hit men could be put into four distinct categories.

Professor Wilson said: “The first type is the ‘novice’.

“This is someone who is at the beginning of their killing career, possibly having just picked up their first contract.

“The second is a ‘dilettante’.

“It’s usually someone older without a criminal background, who sees the quick-fix money of a contract kill as their only way out of a financial crisis.

“Category three is the ‘journeyman’, who is an experienced, reliable, career criminal, but usually their connection to a specific criminal underworld will lead to their downfall.

“Category four is the master hit man, who comes into the community, conducts the shooting and then leaves.

“The reason they are not caught is because they are forensically aware and they don’t come from the community where the hit transpired.

“There will be no local intelligence that the police can use to find out who he is, and they will leave no forensic evidence behind.

“Sometimes they leave the gun behind, which is consistent with this case. Often the guns are modified and smuggled into the country.

“Cracking the case comes down to what was in the letter Mr Wilson was handed, and what was said to Mrs Wilson when he went back inside.

“But then again, this was a professional, a master hit man. It’s unlikely he will ever be found.”

Professor Wilson added: “The most professional hit committed in Britain to this day is the murder in Glasgow of gangland boss Frank McPhie in 2000, who was shot dead in front of his house while his young son watched.

“When I started doing my research many people said hit men don’t go up to the door and ring the doorbell and shoot the person.

“But it’s not unusual at all for a master hit man to literally go to the door in broad daylight and shoot.

“We assume that hits take place in some smoky bar or casinos in the underworld.

“But the fact is most British hits take place in the community.

“They take place in open air, where people are walking their dog or returning from the cinema.

“The concept of where and when a hit will take place is a media stereotype.”

Professor Wilson said the characteristics of the hit man who entered Nairn on November 28, 2004, tallies with what he discovered through his research.

He said the gunman knew exactly what he was doing and how to cover his tracks.

This week, Police Scotland announced it was holding what is known as a homicide governance review.

The review is looking at previous investigations of the case to ascertain if all possible lines of inquiry have been thoroughly exhausted.

Mr Wilson’s family said this week they feared the killer would strike again.

Mr Wilson’s widow, Veronica, his parents Alan and Joan and his sister Jillian, said: “Despite years of searching for answers, the question which always remains is why?

“We are confident that someone, somewhere knows the identity of Alistair’s killer, a man who is still at large.

“He has killed once. He may kill again, and cause another family the heartbreak we have endured.”

More than 4,100 interviews have taken place since the murder. DNA tests on the gun failed to find any information. DNA was carried out on over 200 people, but failed to match DNA on a cigarette stub found near the murder scene.

Over £2million has been spent on the investigation, but detectives believe that they will make a breakthrough, particularly with forensic scientific advances.

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