Holiday resort in shock after 'bizarre' gun murder of bank manager on his doorstep

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A bank manager was shot dead on his doorstep by a man who called at his home in northern Scotland as he was putting his children to bed.

A bank manager was shot dead on his doorstep by a man who called at his home in northern Scotland as he was putting his children to bed.

Detectives investigating the murder in Nairn, near Inverness, on Sunday night said they had no idea about the motive for the attack in which Alistair Wilson, 30, was shot three times. The killer was last seen running from Mr Wilson's house towards the seafront.

The bank manager was helping put his sons to bed at about 7.30pm when a man called at the family home and asked to speak to the Bank of Scotland business manager. Mr Wilson's wife, Veronica, answered the door to the man, who was wearing a blouson jacket and a baseball cap. She left her husband talking to the caller on the doorstep while she continued to tend to their boys, aged four and two. Moments later several shots rang out. Mrs Wilson, 33, ran to the door of the couple's villa and found her husband had been shot in the head. Mr Wilson died in hospital.

Detective Chief Inspector Peter MacPhee, who is leading the investigation, described the killing as horrific and said it was one of the most unusual he had encountered in his 27-year career.

He said: "When Alistair approached the door he was, what can only be described as, brutally gunned down on the steps of his house. There appears to be no motive for this. Alistair was an upstanding member of the Nairn community and respected within banking circles. The town is shaken and the family are devastated. There are 40 officers working throughout the area this morning. In addition, there are a lot of people working in the background."

Det Ch Insp MacPhee said parts of Nairn had been cordoned off to allow forensic teams to conduct a thorough search and that they would probably remain closed today.

"We have got forensic teams here from Grampian and we have a ballistics expert from Strathclyde Police helping us," he said. One possible scenario being examined is that the killer may have had local knowledge, as he seemed to know where he was heading when he escaped.

Nairn, which has a population of about 11,000, is 16 miles east of Inverness on the Moray Firth coast and is a popular holiday resort and retirement destination. The last murder in the town happened in 1986, after an argument at a wedding party.

The fact that the gunman - described as white, clean-shaven, 5ft 4ins tall, stocky and aged between 35 and 40 - asked for Mr Wilson by name appears to rule out mistaken identity. It is possible that a short conversation took place before Mr Wilson was shot with the automatic or semi-automatic pistol.

Stewart Wright,head chef at the Havelock Hotel opposite the Wilsons' home, said: "The man looked like he had been shot twice in the head and once in the body, though it was difficult to see with all the blood."

Mr Wilson, originally from Ayrshire, transferred to business banking in the Inverness area in November 1999.

A Bank of Scotland spokesman said: "Alistair was a highly valued colleague and our thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues at this difficult time."

Police said the inquiry would concentrate on whether Mr Wilson's job was linked to his murder."We are looking at all areas that will lead us on and give us further information on the motive and who may have carried out this terrible attack,"said Detective Superintendent Gordon Urquhart. "It's almost bizarre. These things don't happen in Nairn."