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pounds 500,000; Climbing cost of hunting banker's killer forces cops to cut back probe.

Byline: By DAVID LOVE

THE international hunt for banker Alistair Wilson's killer has cost more than pounds 500,000, we can reveal. The inquiry costs have escalated in the six months since he was shot on his doorstep.

Police yesterday admitted they are scaling down the inqiry that has involved more than 50 officers so far.

A special incident room was set up only yards from Mr Wilson's home in Crescent Road, Nairn, but no suspect or motive has so far been found.

The dad of two was shot by a mystery gunman last November 28.

Northern Constabulary have slashed the number of detectives working on the case from 50 to 30.

But the officer leading the inquiry, Detective Chief Inspector Peter MacPhee, pledged: 'The needs of the investigation will receive the appropriate resources.'

Mr MacPhee added: 'We have not included police salaries but the cost is currently over pounds 380,000.

'This includes overtime, the cost of setting up the incident room plus most other day-to-day running costs.

'But we don't have all the invoices in for, for example, all the DNA tests and other scientific necessities. 'We do quantify expenditure at various stages of an inquiry for reporting to the police board but the final cost won't be known because the inquiry has not reached a conclusion.

'Although there are fewer officers working on the case now, we can draft in the necessary personnel as and when necessary.'

A total of 214 DNA tests have so far been carried out - at up to pounds 100 a time Other forensic costs could add pounds 60,000 to the bill.

Northern Constabulary have revealed there are still a number of DNA profiles which remain unidentified from the crime scene in Crescent Road.

The extensive murder inquiry has seen the team travel in the UK and Europe, taking 2500 statements.

The work abroad relates to research into the firearm and ammunition. Experts have been consulted in the UK, Germany and the Czech Republic.

The weapon used was a pocket gun made in Germany. It was found in a drain half a mile from Mr Wilson's home.

Police believe the pistol could have been a trophy weapon brought back to British soil by soldiers serving in World War Two

CAPTION(S):

Packing a paunch: Mel shows; off his tum, left, and beard, top; Victim: Banker Alistair Wilson's murder remains unsolved
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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:May 29, 2005
Words:398
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