Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Thursday 19 July 2007

Alistair Wilson murder in Nairn - DNA update

(Please see UPDATES at end)

I wrote last month about renewed efforts by Northern Constabulary to contact 'a large number of men asking them for a voluntary DNA sample as part of the investigation into the murder of Nairn banker Alistair Wilson'. I wondered if I would be contacted to give a DNA sample, as I live so close to where Mr and Mrs Wilson lived (and she and the children still live) - well today my wondering was answered, for I had a telephone call a little while ago from a police lady asking if I would be prepared to give a sample. I said 'yes' and rather than visit the police station over the weekend, which was an option offered, I opted for them to visit me at home on Monday next. Like most other people in the vicinity I had a visit from the police soon after the murder occurred to give a statement - I wrote about that here (see the 'UPDATE' near the end).

Of course I'm perfectly happy to give a sample of my DNA so it can be eliminated from their inquries; I daresay most other men living in the immediate vicinity are also being asked to do the same. The only query I shall have when I receive the visit next Monday will be to ensure that my DNA sample is destroyed once it is eliminated from this inquiry; I have no desire for, or intention of consenting voluntarily to, it being stored indefinitely (an article I wrote in July 2004) or as the former Prime Minister, Tony Blair, suggested in one of his final utterances of totalitarian madness earlier this year, added to the massive ID Card database the government is planning as a useful resource for aiding police with any future inquires about crimes which may happen in the future - in other words an attempt to have the DNA and fingerprints of every citizen on file 'just in case'.

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.

UPDATE: (Monday 23JUL07 10.17 BST) As I mentioned above, when I published this article last week, my visit from the police was scheduled for this morning (at 10am); the two officers - a female and a male - arrived precisely on time and left just about 5 or 10 minutes ago after having taken my DNA (swabs from the inside of both cheeks, taken separately) and prints of the 4 fingers on my right hand. I asked about what would happen after my DNA has been eliminated (as I presume it will) from their inquiries; the 'consent' form had two options. Option A was to allow them to use these samples for this inquiry and to retain the information indefinitely until I ask them to remove it. Option B was to allow them to use these samples solely for this inquiry and to destroy them once eliminated. I chose option B and one imagines, therefore, that this is what will happen - I trust. In addition they wanted two forms of identification, one photographic, so I used my driving licence and one of my bank cards; they did not note down the details, but simply verified that the photograph was of me and that the names on the documents are mine. I have in fact been obliged to give finger-prints (but never DNA swabs, of course) in many of the countries where I have lived as they obliged one to possess and carry around an official ID card, something I am deeply opposed to in this country.

2nd UPDATE: (Saturday 18AUG07 10.25 BST) I just had a letter from the police (Northern Constabulary) confirming that my DNA has now been compared with the unidentified sample taken at the crime scene and that it does not match and has therefore been 'eliminated from this investigation' - I do hope they actually destroy my DNA sample as they promised!

3rd UPDATE: (Saturday 8SEP07 14.10 BST) After thinking for a week about the precise content of the letter I had received from Northern Constabulary (referred to immediately above), I decided to write to the Chief Constable to clarify the position and to request confirmation that both my DNA samples and fingerprint samples had been not only eliminated from the inquiry, but destroyed. I have now had a letter back from the Senior Investigating Officer in the Alistair Wilson murder inquiry confirming that my DNA samples have been destroyed and that the resultant profile has been removed from the database; the fingeprints I provided them with and the polaroid photograph they took have also been returned to me. I am pleased that a polite, but pointed, request by me has met with a civilised and reasonable response. Copies of my exchange of correspondence with Northern Constabulary may be viewed here.

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