The Murder of Alistair Wilson

Preliminary Case Analysis

Zak Martin

Alistair Wilson was shot dead on the front doorstep of his home in Nairn, Scotland, on the evening of 28 November 2004. His killer has never been identified, and no motive for his murder has ever been established.

Full details of the case can be found on the BBC website here, but the following is a brief synopsis, based, it may be important to note, on the account given by Veronica Wilson, wife of the murdered man.

Veronica Wilson's Account

At approximately 7pm that Sunday evening, the doorbell rang at 10 Crescent Road, the home of Alistair and Veronica Wilson, in the quiet seaside town of Nairn, Scotland. Alistair was upstairs, putting the couple's two young children to bed. Veronica was also upstairs, in another room, sorting out the laundry.

Veronica went downstairs and opened the door. Standing on the doorstep, in the darkness, was a man she had never seen before, who said only: "Alistair Wilson". She later described the man as white, stockily built, between 5' 6" and 5' 10", clean-shaven, 35-to-40-years-old. He was wearing a dark blue bomber-style jacket and dark jeans, and had a dark baseball cap pulled down over his face.

Thinking the caller must have something to do with her husband's work, she went upstairs to fetch him, leaving the front door open. She remained with the children while her husband went to the door.

Alistair returned a few minutes later, holding a blue envelope which, he said, had been given to him by the man at the door. But the envelope had the name Paul written on the front, and when Alistair showed it to Veronica, it was empty.

Veronica tells her husband that she is certain that the man had asked for him by name. Alistair is puzzled, but gives no indication of being apprehensive. The couple discuss the situation. Veronica wants to put the boys to bed before trying to figure out what was going on, but Alistair insists on going back down to see if the man is still there (he had closed the door on him).

A minute or two later, there is a loud noise. Veronica runs downstairs and sees her husband lying on the ground, covered in blood. Alistair Wilson had been shot three times - twice in the head and once in the chest. Veronica sees the killer leave, walking down Crescent Road towards the coast road.


Various theories have been put forward by criminologists and former police detectives who worked on this case. I will list and briefly outline these theories and explain why, for the most part, I disagree with them.

Please bear in mind that this is a preliminary analysis (which may become a work in progress). I have only recently become aware of this case, and I haven't yet had time to investigate it in any detail. I wrote this analysis for BBC Radio Scotland journalist, Fiona Walker, who expressed an interest in hearing my views on the case. However, my "brief analysis" turned out to be considerably lengthier and more detailed than I had anticipated.
Please note that this report is private, and has been blocked from appearing in search engine searches.

My methodology involves a combination of intuition, psychology (in particular identifying psychological discrepancies and inconsistencies), straightforward logical deduction, and statement analysis (including body language analysis).

The professional hitman theory

According to this theory, Alistair Wilson was killed by a professional hitman, in connection with his work at the bank. The suggestion is that he was killed because he refused to cooperate in some criminal venture, or that he refused to approve a loan to some local gangster. Or perhaps that he himself owed money to loan sharks, and was shot because he had failed to make repayments.

I am inclined to discount this theory for a number of reasons, including the following:

1. If Wilson had been threatened, or had any reason to believe that his life was in danger, he would have been wary about answering the door to strangers, especially at night. Yet, according to his wife, he showed no signs of concern or apprehension when he went to the door that night, or when he went back back a second time (by which time he would presumably have realised that the man at the door had come to kill him, or at least to cause him trouble). In fact he insisted on going back down, when she suggested that they discuss the situation later. One thing we can be sure of is that Alistair Wilson was taken by surprise by the person who shot him.

2/ Professional hitmen are not hired to deliver ultimatums. A professional hitman would have shot Wilson as soon as he appeared at the door. If, on the other hand, the stranger had been hired to deliver a threat, he would have delivered that threat and left. It makes no sense to deliver a threat or an ultimatum and then kill the person you delivered it to a few minutes later. That would be counter-productive (the person you're trying to get to do something is dead), and psychologically inconsistent, since the whole point of making a threat is to apply pressure on a person in order to coerce them to carry out a certain action. Killing that person would defeat the object. Furthermore, a threat or an ultimatum can be delivered by telephone. Threats and ultimatums are only delivered in person as a show of physical force. If two or three "heavies" had arrived at Alistair Wilson's door, and threatened to come back and break his legs if he didn't do as he was told, that would be "normal" intimidatory tactics, and would make more sense.

3/ According to an article in Scotland's Daily Record, ex-detective Peter Bleksley has uncovered "startling information" that suggests Alistair Wilson was not meant to die the night he was shot on his doorstep, and that the killer made an offer which, if Alistair had accepted, he'd have been allowed to live, and if he did not acquiesce, he was to be killed. Ex-detective Bleksley may know something that I don't know, but in my opinion this is an improbable hypothesis. No one sends a man to negotiate with another man on the first man's doorstep on a cold, dark winter's evening. It has also been suggested that the blue envelope may have contained the written demands of the person who sent it. This is even more illogical. The reason letters and documents are enclosed in envelopes is to prevent the person delivering them from reading them. If this hypothesis were correct, it would mean that the man at the door was merely a messenger, and wasn't privvy to the envelope's contents (if he had been, this would have obviated the need for a note in the first place: he could simply have delivered the message or ultimatum verbally) - in which case, he could have no possible motive for killing the recipient.

4/ If the aim here was to coerce Wilson into approving a loan, or stealing money from the bank - or anything along those lines - the threat would have been to his family - his wife and children - not to Alistair Wilson himself. Again, there would be nothing to gain by killing him. Threats are usually incremental, and the person who is being threatened is rarely left in any doubt as to the seriousness of the threat by the time the person making the threat is ready to carry it out. They would not be taken by surprise, nor would they be relaxed about opening the door to strangers. Furthermore, murder in revenge for refusing to take part in a business deal is extremely rare. People kill other people in order to gain something. But if this was the motive, Wilson would simply have been killed, and there would have been no mysterious envelope, no doorstep discussion etc.

5/ It has been suggested that Wilson was supposed to put something in the envelope. This is nonsensical. What could he have put in a small blue envelope that he couldn't have simply handed to the other person? Bank robbers often hand the teller a bag with instructions to fill it with banknotes. They do this so that they don't have to stuff their pockets with money. There is no plausible reason that I can think of to hand someone a small envelope and ask them to put something into it.

6/ A professional hitman would have used a reliable weapon. A .25 caliber miniature pistol is not a reliable weapon. In gun circles, a .25 is known as a "better than nothing" weapon. Statistically, a person shot with .25 calibre bullets has a better than 90% chance of surviving, even if they have been shot several times. A .25 pistol is usually only lethal when it is fired at very close range, into the head or the heart of the victim. And even then, a shot to the head is not reliable, since .25 bullets often do not penetrate the skull. To be reasonably sure of killing someone with a shot to the head using a .25 weapon, the shooter would have to aim deliberately at a "soft spot" in the skull - directly into the eyeball, for example. This means that the shooter would have to be sure of being able to take the victim by surprise. And the victim would still have a reasonable chance of surviving. If Alistair Wilson had been shot from a distance of just a few feet - for example, if he'd had time to see the gun and react by stepping back, or pushing his assailant away from him - he would almost certainly have survived. If the person who shot him intended to kill him, they either got lucky or they knew that they could only kill him if they took him by surprise and shot him in the head at point blank range. No professional hitman would rely on any of these factors. An amateur hitman might, but a professional hitman would not. Here is a chart giving the characteristics of bullets fired from handguns. The .25 is the first and least powerful bullet in the list. Its intended purpose is given as "pinking, varmint".

The mistaken identity theory

In my opinion, the mistaken identity theory can be ruled out. First of all, it assumes that the gunman was sent by someone else (he didn't know the intended victim by sight), and it assumes that the other Alistair Wilson was targeted by an assassin or hit man. But what difference would this make to the apparent facts or the odds in this case? Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that the gunman shot the wrong Alistair Wilson - how would that explain the empty envelope? Or the name Paul? Or the fact that the gunman didn't shoot when Wilson came to the door? The circumstances would be just as inexplicable. We'd still have a stranger arriving at a house, handing the victim an empty envelope, standing there after the door had been closed on him, escaping on foot, dumping the murder weapon in a drain just a few miles away... In other words, it would still be a mystery.
Someone might have had a motive for killing the other Alistair Wilson, of course - but equally, someone might have had a motive for killing the Alistair Wilson who was, in fact, killed. Hypothesizing the existence of another Alistair Wilson, who was the real intended victim, doesn't resolve any of the questions raised by this case. Therefore we can apply Occam's Razor: "lex parsimoniae" - "Don't multiply entities unnecessarily." It would be illogical to entertain a theory that doesn't make any more sense than the most likely theory. Furthermore, if the gunman shot the wrong Alistair Wilson, it would mean that he had no idea what his intended target looked like, since he saw Alistair Wilson when he came to the door, and again when he came to the door a second time. He'd surely have realised by that stage that he'd called to the home of the wrong Alistair Wilson. If Alistair Wilson had been shot as soon as he came to the door, the mistaken identity theory might have had some merit, but as it is we can dismiss it.
In my opinion the likelihood is that the person who shot Alistair Wilson didn't kill the wrong person. To believe otherwise, we would have to believe not only that the gunman went to the wrong house, but that he had no idea what his intended victim looked like, and that his mistake didn't become obvious even when he spoke with Alistair Wilson.


The not very professional hitman

"This case has all the hallmarks of a professional assassination." - BBC
No, it does not. The supposed target was allowed to go back into the house. That's not professional at all. Why didn't the gunman shoot him on sight? Why did he allow him to go back into the house? And how did he know his target would come back out? If Alistair Wilson hadn't come back out, how long was the gunman planning on waiting at the front door? Professional gunmen don't wait around on people's front doorsteps on the offchance that their intended target will reappear.

Who were the witnesses?

According to the BBC article: "On the night of 28 November, two people standing on the opposite side of the road see two men talking at the door."
But who were these witnesses, and why didn't the police reveal their identities (as they did the identity of the man who thought he'd seen the killer on a bus)? Did these witnesses actually see the shooting? Or did they just vaguely remember seeing two men at the Wilsons' front door that night?

"When Alistair goes back into the house, he closes the front door behind him." - BBC article.
In which case he would have to have believed that their business, whatever it was, was concluded. He would further have had to have assumed that the man had left. He would have seen the man turning to leave (or even watched him walk down the path), unless he closed the door in the man's face. These are the only two ways it could have happened. If he was handed an envelope with no explanation, and if he didn't see the man turn to leave before closing the front door, he couldn't possibly have believed that their business was concluded.

Let's assume he went to the door. The stranger is standing outside, on the doorstep. He opens the door (presumably very curious to find out who is calling at his home on a Sunday evening at 7pm). Apparently - despite the fact that he works at a bank and must have been security-conscious - he has no qualms about going to the door. So what does he say when he opens the door? Presumably something along the lines of "Yes? What can I do for you?" or "What's it about?"
The man does not reply, but instead hands him a blue envelope. Alistair doesn't say "What's this?" Doesn't open the envelope on the spot and say "This envelope is empty". Instead, he takes the envelope and goes back into the house, closing the door on the caller and leaving him standing there.

This is nonsense - it's psychologically and logistically all wrong - and in my opinion it didn't happen. Which, if I'm right, means that either Alistair was lying to his wife when he came to her with the empty envelope, or Veronica Wilson is lying about the whole incident.

“'[Alistair] was just a bit bewildered as to what the gentleman had said, because the envelope wasn’t addressed to him,' says Veronica. She tells her husband that the man had definitely asked for him by name. Even stranger, she says that when Alistair shows her the envelope, it was empty." - BBC

Apply common sense here. No one sends a man out on a cold winter's night to deliver an empty envelope. No one hands someone an empty envelope. It just doesn't happen. If Alistair Wilson was handed an envelope, there was something in it. And that something would almost certainly have been a card or a note. A crucial question here is: was the envelop gummed down? If not, it would have been obvious that it was empty when Wilson was handed it on the doorstep. He'd have asked "Why are you giving me an empty envelope?" (And "who's Paul?")
On a separate note, it seems strange to hear Veronica Wilson describe the man who murdered her husband as a "gentleman".

If the envelope was sealed when it was handed to Wilson, 1/ Why was it sealed? This would suggest that the man delivering it wasn't privvy to its contents, but was delivering it for someone else. 2/ Why would an empty envelope be sealed? Answer: It wouldn't. 3/ If Alistair Wilson tore open the envelope and removed (and read) the contents, what happened to those contents? And if he read the contents (or opened the envelope) on the doorstep, why would he still be "bewildered" when he went upstairs to show it to his wife? And if he had already removed the contents, why would he hide those contents from his wife? Surely he would say, "He handed me an envelope which had this note (or whatever) inside it..."? If these events actually happened - if Alistair Wilson showed his wife an empty envelope - it is reasonable to assume that he had already removed whatever had been in it. And the only reason he would do that would be because the envelope contained something - most likely information - that he did not want her to know about...

The alternative is that he read the contents on the doorstep (in the dark) and then handed the contents back to the caller, keeping the empty envelope to show his wife. Which makes no sense, and didn't happen. And if the caller didn't want him to keep the note (because it contained fingerprints, DNA etc), and took the letter back after Wilson had read it, he would certainly have also taken back the envelope (which would hold even more DNA, as well as a handwriting specimen).

This is a simple process of elimination and logical deduction. Either Alistair Wilson was handed A/ an open, empty envelope, B/ a sealed empty envelope, or C/ an envelope (whether sealed or open) containing a card or a note of some kind.
Question: Why do people put things into envelopes? Answer: Privacy. They want the contents to be read by the intended recipient, and by no-one else. This is important. If the caller had no idea what was in the envelope, it follows that he would have no motive to kill the person he delivered it to. And a "messenger" would not be sent to negotiate anything (how could he be authorised to negotiate if he isn't even privvy to the contents of the envelope?). He might be sent to deliver an ultimatum, but ultimatums usually involve deadlines. The victim is given 24 hours, or three days, or whatever, to do such and such a thing. No one delivers an ultimatum with instructions to kill the victim on the spot if he refuses to comply. There would be threats, warnings. The objective is usually to persuade the person to agree to something, or carry out a particular action. Killing them defeats that objective, and would only be done as a last resort, in retaliation for their refusal to cooperate, or "to send a message", in the case of organised crime - and in that case the gunman would shoot the victim as soon as he came to the door. And, again, the threat would be far more likely to be directed at the victim's children, wife etc., not the victim himself.

Where did the note go?
Assuming that this blue envelope existed, and assuming it was handed to Alistair Wilson at his front door, what happened to it? And what happened to whatever was in it? We could speculate and imagine that when Alistair returned to the front door "to see if the man was still there", he still had the envelope in his hand, and the gunman took it back. But if he opened the envelope in the house and hid the contents from his wife (which is the only reasonable explanation for him showing her an empty envelope), the contents would still have been in the house after he was shot, and they would have been found either by Veronica Wilson or by the police. The fact that both the envelope and its presumed contents disappeared can only be explained by assuming that the gunman took both back, which seems highly improbable.

The blue envelope
Every article I've read about this case discusses the blue envelope at length. All kinds of theories are proposed to account for the envelope and the reason it was empty. Some people have suggested that Alistair Wilson was supposed to put something in the envelope (a far-fetched idea, in my opinion), while others, including criminologist Mohammed Rahmanhas, have suggested that the envelope may have been "symbolic" (an even more far-fetched idea). But the most important fact (albeit a psychological fact) seems to have been completely missed, and it is this: no man would send a blue envelope to another man. A man would send a blue envelope (containing a card, a message, a piece of jewellery or whatever) to a woman, or a woman would send a blue envelope to a man. But a man - or at least a heterosexual man - wouldn't send a blue envelope to another man, regardless of its contents.

A blue envelope with the name Paul (and no surname) on the front would only be sent from a woman to a man. And, as it's the type of envelope typically used to send a greeting card, this is probably what was in it. So this was a card sent from a woman to a man called Paul; and most cards - birthday cards, Christmas cards, anniversary cards, gift cards - suggest intimacy or affection. A card - and a blue envelope - suggests a personal relationship between sender and recipient.

Why dump the gun?
The murder weapon was found in drain three miles away, ten days after the shooting. But if the killer was driving a car or a motorbike (which he presumably would have parked at the end of the street when he called to the Wilsons' home), wouldn't he be anxious to get out of the area as quickly as possible? This is an area where strangers are noticed. Why would he stay in the area to dump the gun in a drain, with police on the lookout for him? An assassin will typically try to put as much distance as possible between himself and the scene of the crime. And if he's leaving the area in a car or on a bike, why not drive a few miles down the road and dump the gun in the sea? Or in a country ditch?
The idea that the killer shot Alistair Wilson, then walked or drove to a nearby street to dump the murder weapon, when he knew that the police would be patrolling the area looking for him, doesn't make sense. Nor, incidentally, would it make sense for a professional hitman to dump a murder weapon in a drain, least of all in a built-up area close to the crime scene, where it had a good chance of being found (not as soon as ten days - that seems to have been pure luck - but sooner or later). It is far more likely that the gun was dumped there by a local person, familiar with the area.

Alistair Wilson's change of job
Alistair Wilson apparently had a secure, well-paid job with a bank, yet he had decided to hand in his notice and look for a better job. A security-conscious wife with two young children might not be thrilled by the idea of her husband giving up a safe, well-paid job. And it is clear that Veronica Wilson puts the safety and well-being of her children above all other considerations.

We're told that Alistair was ambitious. This might be true. However, when people are restless and dissatisfied in their work, this is often symptomatic of a more general desire for change in other areas of their life. Was Alistair Wilson planning on making other changes in his life? Was he thinking of moving somewhere else? Perhaps even to another country? Was he involved with another woman?

A gangland-style execution?
"This was a gangland-style execution." - BBC
No, it wasn't. In a gangland-style execution there would be two assassins and a car or a motorbike. And the assassin would be armed with a proper gun. The assassin would ask "Is Alistair at home?" or "Is Mr. Wilson at home?" Not "Alistair Wilson", because they would want to make it appear as if they were aquaintances of Alistair's. There would be no nonsense with empty envelopes, and no waiting around for Alistair Wilson to come back to the door.
A gangland-style execution would go like this:
Man at the door. Second man waits in car (or on motorbike).
"Is Mr. Wilson home?"
Wilson comes to door.
Bang, bang.
Shooter gets on back of bike and bike speeds away.

Veronica Wilson Interviews

I have watched three videos of Veronica Wilson being interviewed, in addition to this audio podcast. In every one of them she exhibits deceptive behavior, through her body language, her tone of voice, her phraseology and so on. Her unconscious gestures of deception and evasion in this audio clip, in which she is questioned directly about her possible involvement in her husband's murder, are textbook.

Q: "What would you say to people who might point the finger at you?"
A: (Laughs) "Eh... eh... I hadn't thought of that one... emmm... I don't... I... why would I do (laugh)... I just, you know... I don't see what they think I'd to gain, and... no, to come down and see my husband like that... and if not for me, for my children. There's no.. you know... I just... no... that's... people may think that, but I just... they just don't know anything about us, and... to, no, to have to do this to my children as well, for the rest of their lives... no, it's a... no, I don't know (laughs).. I just... I (couldn't?)... you know... it was on my doorstep, it's my home. And... this person's... that's... I feel even more disgusted, and since the day he spoke... he came to my home and... my boys are still awake, you know, having their stories..."


Veronica's first reaction is a nervous laugh, during which she leaks what appears to be a micro statement (see video below).
The laugh itself is an inappropriate response to a serious question. It's a nervous laugh - but what has she to be nervous about?
"I hadn't thought of that one..." - This is obviously not true. In fact her flustered response (adrenalin rush) tells us that this is the question she has been dreading. And of course she would have to be exceptionally naïve not to have realised that some people would suspect her of involvement in her husband's murder. The police would certainly have considered her as a suspect, at least in the early stages of the investigation.
"I... why would I do... (laugh)" - Answering a question with another question is a classic evasion tactic. She's trying to avoid answering the question directly by asking the interviewer (and the audience) to accept that the suggestion is absurd, or that she considers it to be absurd. "Why would I do that?" or "What reason would I have?" is a distancing statement and a play for time, and is a common deception response. For example, a person rightly accused of stealing money will often say: "Why would I steal money? I already have plenty of money!" The honest response is, of course: "I didn't do it!" or "It wasn't me!"
But in fact she doesn't even finish the sentence. She says: "Why would I do..." but avoids saying "that", because "that" is the murder of her husband, and she wants to avoid touching base with that specific event. Again, this is distancing language indicating deception.
Watch Iftikhar Ahmed, who murdered his daughter Shafilea, use similar distancing language. First he uses the term "do these things", and when the interviewer asks him: "Do what?" he replies "Would we kill our own daughter". Not simply "Kill our own daughter", because that would have been the truth. He adds "would we" to make the idea sound more hypothetical, and "those things" to avoid the one specific thing he's being asked about. He also gives an affirmative nod while he's saying "never" - another common gestural slip. It is not uncommon for people who are under pressure to give a physical indication that signals the opposite to their verbal answer, and when this happens, the physical indication almost always reflects the truth.

Veronica Wilson wants people to focus on her apparent lack of motive; but, as she herself points out a minute later, "people just don't know anything about us" - in which case they would have no idea what her possible motives might be.
She is reluctant to use the words "kill", "murder", "death" etc. Instead, she leaves sentences unfinished. "Why would I do....?" And, again, the laugh is inappropriate. Note also her use of the word "us" in relation to what other people know (or knew). In every other instance, she uses the first person pronoun.
"I just, you know... I don't see what they think I'd to gain..."
So she has thought about it. And again she's trying to persuade her listeners that she had nothing to do with her husband's death because she had no motive.
"To come down and see my husband like that..."
Distancing again. "To come down..." As if it had happened or might happen to someone else. And "my husband" - not Alistair, or Al, or even simply "him" (we know who she's talking about). She's trying to think of reasons for not killing her husband that will sound logical to other people. Why doesn't she say, for example: "I loved my husband. We were very happy together. I miss him every day. People are wrong if they think I had anything to do with his death."?
"...and if not for me, for my children."
Her children. Never our children.
"... No, to have to do this to my children as well..."
To have to do this to her children? What did she have to do to her children?
"No, it's a... no, I don't know (laughs)."
It's a what?
"It was on my doorstep, it's my home."
It was on her doorstep. Her home.
"And... this person's... that's... I feel even more disgusted, and since the day he spoke, he came to my home and..."
This is a very strange thing to say. Most people would feel horrified, shocked, appalled etc., if they found their spouse lying on the doorstep of their home, covered in blood. Disgust over the fact that it happened on their doorstep wouldn't be their strongest or most immediate feeling. "Since the day he spoke" is also a very strange thing to say. According to her version of events, the man at the door did not speak, except to utter her husband's name. "The day he spoke" suggests far more than that. And why "the day he spoke" and not "the day he shot Alistair"? The murder was the important event, not the fact that the man spoke. Her expression of disgust that the man came to "her" home appears to be more intense than her sadness or grief over her husband being killed. Indeed, she expresses no genuine feelings of affection or grief over the loss of her husband in any of these interviews. In one interview she smiles as she recounts how the paramedics "couldn't help him", which could be interpreted as duping delight. There is little or no genuine emotion apparent in any of these interviews. She's telling a well-rehearsed dramatc story, not reliving a horrific event. And it's all about her: her home, her children, how disgusted she feels; how her life has been affected. She gives no indication of feeling sympathy or affection for her husband. Her narrative is all about how inconvenienced she was by his death. In fact he hardly features at all.

Nor does she blame herself for his death. Most people experience feelings of guilt or remorse when someone close to them dies suddenly in violent circumstances, even if they were in no way responsible. This is a normal and natural reaction. I would expect Veronica Wilson to regret sending her husband to the door that night without questioning the visitor to find out what he wanted. I'd expect her to say something along the lines of "I should have realised that the man was dangerous", or "I should have asked him why he wanted to speak to Alistair".

Her response to the question of her possible involvement in her husband's murder improves in each successive interview, because, of course, she's had years to think about and rehearse her answer. In her most recent interview, her response is smooth and coherent; but the deception giveaways are still there. They're just a little bit less obvious.
"It's really difficult, you do feel locked in; you're not living your own life... you have to be careful what you say..."
Again, we can see distancing language in the use of the generalized "you". Not "I feel locked in", but "you feel locked in", and "you're not living your own life". She's telling us what a person in her position feels, not what she feels. This use of the general, impersonal "you" is very common among interviewees who are being less than truthful. It's a tactic to avoid ownership of the lie they are telling. In fact minimal self-references is one of the strongest indicators of deceptive behavior. Put simply, liars avoid using the personal pronouns “I,” “me” and “myself”, and will often use the word "you" (in the sense of "one") instead of "I". Here's how cyclist Lance Armstrong responded in a 2005 interview when he was asked directly whether he had cheated by taking performance-enhancing drugs:
"A guy in a Parisienne laboratory opens up your sample... and then you get a phone call from a newspaper..."

Micro Leaks
Keeping a secret and adhering to a false narrative is extremely stressful, and there is a huge unconscious compulsion on the part of a deceptive person to confess and unburden themselves of their "guilty secret". The body "wants" to confess, even if the conscious mind wants to maintain the deception. This is why criminals who have escaped justice for years often experience a sense of relief when they are finally caught, and why some criminals leave clues - without being aware that they are doing so - that lead to their own capture. During interviews and interrogations, this urge is often expressed in subliminal micro gestures - facial expressions, body language (such as affirmative nodding while saying no), "Freudian slips" (parapraxis), and sometimes even verbal "leaks" where the subject will actually make a verbal confession under their breath, at a level too low to be heard or noticed. These gestural slips can appear and disappear in a fraction of a second, and usually go unnoticed by interviewers who don't know what to look out for. If you listen carefully to Veronica Wilson's response to being asked about her possible involvement in her husband's murder, you will hear what appears to be a verbal micro leak at 0.28, accompanied by a sharp release of breath. I have isolated it in the video below.


In my opinion, Veronica Wilson was either involved in her husband's murder, or she knows a great deal more about it than she admits to knowing. I am aware that the police don't consider her to be a suspect, and that they are pursuing other lines of inquiry which appear to be promising, but I can only base my opinion on my own observations. There is no question at all in my mind that she is being deceptive and dishonest in these interviews.

The fact that she is being deceptive doesn't necessarily mean that she had something to do with her husband's murder (although this is by far the most likely explanation). It is possible, for example, that she knows more about the murder than she is willing to reveal, or she is lying to cover up aspects of her relationship with Alistair Wilson that she wants to keep private. Perhaps the envelope wasn't empty; or perhaps she found its contents after her husband had been shot. In her most recent interview she makes reference to the fact that she "knows things that other people aren't aware of". Could her fear of unintentionally divulging these secrets account for her deceptive behavior? It is certainly possible, but it would have to mean that the truth about what happened that night is substantially different from the account she gives in interviews. And was she aware of these facts when she gave her first interview? Because it's in that first interview that her deceptive behavior is most apparent.

Veronica Wilson's responses are characterised by:
  • Minimal self-references
  • Generalized, hypothetical and abstract language
  • Convoluted phrasing and sentence structure
  • Unnecessarily lengthy explanations
  • Unnecessary and irrelevant detail
  • Avoidance of "I", "me", "my".
  • Distancing language
  • Multiple anxiety hot spots
  • Frequent pauses and lack of continuity
  • Micro expressions of internal stress/anxiety in response to certain questions
  • Multiple unfinished phrases like "I just...", "you know..." etc.
  • Lack of emotional involvement
  • Inappropriate smiling or laughing when describing serious events
  • Indirect statements implying an answer, rather than giving a direct answer
    These are all indicators of deceptive behavior.

    Almost all the details we know about the murder of Alistair Wilson are based on Veronica Wilson's version of events, and we know - or at least I am satisfied - that she isn't telling the truth, or the whole truth. So the question for me then becomes: which bits of her story are the truth, and which bits is she lying about? The account she gave might be essentially true, but with an important element left out. Or it might be false in its entirety. The only other evidence we have that support her story is that provided by the two unnamed witnesses I referred to above, who said they saw two men talking on the Wilsons' doorstep (presumably at the time of the murder, though this hasn't been made clear). This is why the statements made by these two eye-witnesses is so important. Without it, there would be nothing at all to substantiate Veronica Wilson's version of what happened that night.

    A person who is lying about an event will usually weave a story that incorporates elements of truth and fiction. It is very difficult to invent and sustain a wholly fictitious story, therefore the more closely the story adheres to what actually happened, the more believable it is likely to be, and the less difficulty the person telling it is likely to have answering questions, since many or most of their answers will be true, or partly true. If a story is 99% true, it can be very difficult for an investigator to identify the 1% that's false.

    Another device liars use is that of transposing details or entire events from one time frame to another to create a story that's true in every detail - apart from the fact that parts of it happened on an earlier date. For example, if there is a half hour gap in their story that they can't account for, they might fill that gap with an event that happened the previous day, or the previous week. Since the event actually happened, they don't have to lie or invent anything. Their story will be convincing because the details are actually true. Child murderer Stuart Hazell was able to give a detailed account of the last time he saw his step-granddaughter, Tia Sharp, alive simply by recounting events that had occurred on the previous day.

    I believe many if not most of the elements in Veronica Wilson's account actually happened, but not necessarily in the order or the way she described them, and in some instances perhaps not on the day of the murder. I think it likely that there was a blue envelope which had some significance to her, but that she may have incorporated this element into her account of what happened to misdirect attention from the raw facts of the case. The blue envelope, in other words, may turn out to be a red herring.

    If we were to disregard Veronica Wilson's testimony, the only thing we would know for certain is that Alistair Wilson was shot to death on the doorstep of his home.

    My feeling - and I have no evidential basis for this - is that, despite appearances, Veronica and Alistair Wilson were having problems in their marriage, and I suspect that Alistair may have been involved with another woman. I think they were also having financial problems. If my intuition is correct, it would present all kinds of possible motives for the shooting. We could speculate, for instance, that the other woman's husband found out about the affair, and came to confront Alistair, armed with evidence of the relationship (in addition to a gun). Or we could speculate that Veronica found out about the affair (perhaps by finding a card in a blue envelope...) Other scenarios along similar lines could also be explored. One thing that comes through very clearly is that Veronica Wilson is enormously protective of her home and her children, and I have no doubt whatsoever that she would go to any lengths to deal with any perceived threat to them.

    The theory favoured by the police is, of course, that Alistair Wilson was murdered by gangsters with whom he had become involved, or by a hitman hired by a crooked local businessman. This theory may well turn out to be the correct one; but if so it would mean that Veronica Wilson knew what was going on, and knows the identity of the person responsible for her husband's murder. Otherwise, how could we account for her deceptive behavior?

    As I said at the top, I am new to this case, and I haven't yet had time to study it in detail. If I can find the time, I'll look into it in more depth. I think it's a case that I could solve if I were involved in the investigation, with access to evidence, witness statements etc. (the way I normally work). There are limits to what can be achieved remotely, and with so many facts being deliberately held back by the police.

    30 June 2018

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