Alexander Blue murder: Victim ‘feared he was being watched’ says brother who breaks silence 20 years on

Exclusive: Alexander Blue feared someone was watching him from bushes outside his luxury flat in Glasgow’s West End in the days before he was brutally attacked in February 2002

<p>The brother of murdered businessman Alexander Blue says his sibling feared someone was watching him in the days before his killing in 2002</p>

The brother of murdered businessman Alexander Blue says his sibling feared someone was watching him in the days before his killing in 2002

Just days before he was murdered 20 years ago, Alexander Blue told his younger brother he thought he was being watched from the bushes outside his plush flat in Glasgow’s West End.

At the time, Gavin Blue brushed it off as the 41-year-old being paranoid – but he asked a friend to install some security lights outside the grand Georgian property at his sibling’s request.

Tragically, before the work could be arranged, Alex was found lying in a pool of his own blood in the driveway of his home after being savagely attacked.

The successful car salesman suffered head injuries so horrific his own mother didn’t recognise him when she visited him in hospital, and he died two days later on 27 June 2002 having never regained consciousness.

Gavin, then aged 38, made an appeal for information to help catch his brother’s killer in the immediate aftermath of his death – but has remained largely silent in the two decades since.

On the 20th anniversary of Alex’s murder, the 58-year-old has spoken to The Independent in the hope that the case might finally be solved.

Alex Blue pictured as best man at his younger brother Gavin’s wedding in 1996

Describing his brother’s fears in the days before his murder, Gavin said: “Alex had said to me, ‘Do you know anybody who does security lighting,’ and he said to me, ‘I can’t help but get the feeling that I’m being watched.’ He said he felt there was somebody in those bushes.

“Alex would come in at 10 or 11pm at night and it was pitch dark and there was zero lighting at all.

“He would drive up the side of the house – which was split into flats – and then park his car at the back. He was actually found where he would drive in.

“It was the darkest time and the quietest night of the week.”

Gavin believes his brother was beaten with a heavy object such as a hammer and also knifed by an attacker or attackers who wanted him dead.

Detectives have quizzed more than 5,000 people over the attack and Alex’s family and friends raised £25,000 for a reward for information.

The property where Alexander Blue lived, pictured on Google street view in July 2008 six years after his murder

Police believe the key to solving the murder may lie in the businessman’s complex financial background – but no one has ever stood trial.

Earlier this week DCI Brian Geddes, of Police Scotland’s homicide governance review, said the case remained under review.

He added: “We acknowledge the heartache and distress that the Blue family have suffered over the last two decades as they seek answers and justice for Alexander.

“Police Scotland never considers cases closed and the passage of time is no barrier to the investigation of unresolved homicide cases.”

At the time of his death, life was looking up for Alex, his brother said.

He had lost his house to bankruptcy following a failed business venture a few years earlier, but in 2002 he part-owned The Taxi Centre – which sold cars to the private hire trade and had a turnover of around £7m – and was living in a luxury flat in Dundonald Road.

A year or two before his death, Alex had split from his girlfriend, French-born restaurant manager Noura Bekkis, who lived with him at the flat for three years, but Gavin said the pair had recently bumped into each other again and were on good terms.

Previous reports have claimed Alex’s debts were discharged two weeks before his death, meaning he would have been able to take up a majority shareholding in The Taxi Centre – but according to Gavin there had been a delay and it wasn’t due to be completed for another two weeks.

The final time Gavin saw Alex alive was the Sunday before his death when the two brothers met up to hit some golf balls at a driving range.

Alexander pictured as a child

The pair were close – Alex was Gavin’s best man at his wedding in 1996 – and Alex would often drive the 20-minute journey to his brother’s home to watch football and spend time with his sister-in-law and three-year-old nephew.

“He had a cracking sense of humour,” said Gavin. “He was very chatty; he was just naturally a nice guy.

“He was a good friend, too – he has got pals that still keep in touch with me.”

Gavin described his brother as a “keep-fit fanatic” who had been good at disco dancing and kickboxing and preferred drinking coffee in nice cafes to knocking back beers in pubs.

The businessman was last seen leaving the Bean Scene cafe in Byres Road at about 8pm on Monday 24 June 2002, just hours before he was found unconscious at his home half a mile away.

Some reports claim he was spotted sipping a coffee and poring over documents in the hours before the murder. Others speculate he was carrying a briefcase allegedly containing £30,000 and may have been a victim of a house-buying scam.

Gavin said it sounded as though Alex was in a cafe when he spoke to him on the phone on the evening he was last seen – but he thinks it is unlikely his brother would have been carrying around such a large sum of money.

Detectives have previously said the key to solving Alexander Blue’s murder may lie in his complex financial background

“The thing with Alex was he wasn’t flashy,” Gavin said. “He didn’t actually carry a lot of cash. Any time I was with him, if he pulled his wallet out it was generally a card.”

The father-of-one, who worked at The Taxi Centre at the time, was the first to be informed of the attack when two police officers turned up at the office asking for him.

He rushed to Southern General Hospital where he kept a vigil at Alex’s bedside for two days, only leaving to return home for a change of clothes, and he was with him when his life support machine was eventually turned off.

Gavin, who now lives in Carlisle, says he thinks of Alex most days – but says he tries not to dwell too much on the fact his brother’s killer or killers have never been caught.

“A year or two after Alex died it drove me crazy because I don’t know why they haven’t solved it,” he said. “I’m more than a bit suspicious.”

He added: “I obviously want it solved. I’m just hoping somebody comes forward.

“It sounds weird but I was 38 when it happened, I’m 58 now… I think you would like to get it solved in your lifetime.

“My son is coming up for 24 and it’s really no further forward. It’s disappointing.”

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