Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain in the Autumn for a month or so
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Murder in Nairn 11+ years ago - police reiterate it remains an active case

There is a very interesting and lengthy interview and article published yesterday in The Press & Journal, the main regional newspaper in this part of Scotland - you can read it here. Some quotes from the article:

The interview was with Julian Innes, who was a detective inspector in Inverness at the time of the murder of Alistair Wilson the murder victim, and is today chief superintendent and area commander for the north in what is now "Police Scotland"

“I was a detective inspector at the time of the Alistair Wilson murder, so I feel this one quite painfully that we haven’t brought his murderer to justice.

“I would expect the public and the communities of the Highlands and islands to keep challenging Police Scotland to get this solved. That’s a reasonable expectation.

“I can tell you there’s lots of police officers in Scotland that would love to get this solved as well.

“So when we get criticised for not solving it, my position as divisional commander is to accept that criticism absolutely.

“But they can be assured that if we have any information that would lead to the murderer of Alistair Wilson being caught, we would be all over it.

“The police as well as the communities, particularly of Nairn, are keen to make sure this person is caught.”

So much has been known for some time and apart from mentioning that as a result of a Freedom of Information request that "close to £15,000" has been spent since April last year (i.e. during this financial year) specifically on efforts to identify the murderer and that "close to 2,700 people have been interviewed" with the aim of taking the inquiry forward, the article contains nothing "new". The article ends with a quote from Police Scotland Specialist Crime Division major investigation team, which insists it “remains active and ongoing”.

So far as I was aware, there was no real doubt about this. Which begs the question , in my mind at least, why this interview and article has been felt necessary now. In principle it is good of course for this serious crime to be kept in the forefront of people's minds, specially those in the area where it happened. However, I wonder if it may be something more than this. Has there been some kind of criticism of Police Scotland for insufficient rigour in their efforts, or do the police themselves feel under more than usual pressure to justify themselves? For myself, I cannot imagine that anyone would be more anxious to find the culprit than the family of Alistair Wilson and the police. One imagines the only person not keen on the murderer being identified is the murderer.

The only other comment I would make is that I have no idea whether to spend "close to £15,000" is about right, too much or too little. However, I would be somewhat sceptical about any organisation's "cost centre analysis" mechanisms being sufficiently robust to come up with such a figure in the first place. Yes, it's easy enough to quantify hotel, food, overtime costs etc. for those specifically allocated to this case, but what about the odd telephone call or memo written by those not directly involved, not to mention a portion of the salaries of those on this case team? The real spend is probably therefore significantly greater I suspect. However, to try and quantify this - the declared spend of about £15,000 represents probably only somewhere between a fifth and a half of one police personnel's annual remuneration and as I imagine the person most closely involved and 'responsible' for the case is probably a fairly senior individual with annual remuneration to match, quite apart from the others in the team for this case, that would give a more accurate impression of the targeted effort being made to this one case, albeit a very serious one. This is in no way a criticism of the police, whose resources are obviously finite, simply my desire to place the figure quoted in context.

Like most others, I continue to hope the murderer will be caught sooner rather than later. I hope some member of the public who has new and relevant information to offer will come forward to help the police and everyone else solve this crime and lead to the conviction of the person who committed it.

You can visit the page for this unsolved crime in the Police Scotland website here:


Alistair Wilson

Anyone with any information in connection with the murder of 30-year-old banker Alistair Wilson should contact Police Scotland on 101, or Crimestoppers in confidence and complete anonymity on 0800 555 111.

Contact Us
Contact Police Scotland on 101, or Crimestoppers in confidence and complete anonymity on 0800 555 111

My most recent previous article on the murder is here. There are links to all my posts on this murder, so close to where I live, in the right-hand column under the heading 'Murder in Nairn' articles.

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