Three years after the murder of Nairn banker Alistair Wilson, it has been reported the Police are planning to scale down the investigation, after no success.
Scotland on Sunday reports :
DETECTIVES hunting the killer of banker Alistair Wilson are planning to scale down the inquiry three years after the murder.
A dedicated team of officers have worked on the case at a cost of more than £1.5m but they are now to be told to investigate other crimes.
The search has taken officers to Germany and the Czech Republic in an effort to find clues from the distinctive 1920s German handgun and its Czech-made ammunition. However, they have so far failed to clear up the crime.
Detective Chief Inspector Peter MacPhee has admitted that all he now had was "hope" of finding the father-of-two's killer.
Alistair Wilson was shot dead on his doorstep in Crescent Road, Nairn, near Inverness, on November 28, 2004, after his wife Veronica Wilson answered the door to a stranger. The man asked for Alistair Wilson and when he came to the door he was shot several times.
MacPhee said: "Unless something significant comes up the inquiry team will move on to other things.
"However, the case will never close. We have a lot of the picture but there are still vital pieces missing and one can help lead us to a conclusion."
Northern Constabulary expect to conclude a massive DNA sampling exercise in the New Year.
MacPhee added: "Three years on, we are in the realms of hope rather than expectation of solving this crime. There are still seven officers working on the case from a peak of 60."
MacPhee has been in regular contact with Wilson's widow, who is not a suspect. She has refused to comment but MacPhee said: "Veronica shares our frustration that her husband's killer has not been caught and remains hopeful he will be brought to justice."
A DNA sample was taken from a cigarette end lying near the scene on Crescent Road. Police have recorded 1,300 names and more than 1,000 people have been tested.
Around 250 have still to provide samples and under 50 have refused. MacPhee said: "The group who have declined are not being treated as suspects but we will have to eliminate them. However, we do not know if the DNA sample belongs to the killer."
Crucial CCTV cameras were not working on the night of the killing and although the murder weapon was found 10 days later, extensive forensic tests have produced nothing.
The bullets used to kill the 30-year-old are of an unusual type and calibre and were rare in the UK even before the 1997 handgun ban in the wake of the Dunblane massacre.
The 6.35mm cartridges were made by Czech firm Sellier & Bellot and were fired from an unusual 1920s German Haenel-Suhl Schmeisser handgun found in a drain near the murder scene.