Was dog walker shot dead at long range? And why did it take so long for cops to launch a murder investigation? Mystery over death of ex-groundsman of City financier’s 4,000-acre Scottish estate that’s been at centre of FOUR police probes in 15 years


Mystery surrounds the shooting of a groundskeeper at a 4,000-acre Scottish estate which has been at the centre of multiple police investigations including over the illegal poisoning of birds of prey. 

Brian Low, 65, was found dead on February 17 on a footpath near his cottage home in Pitilie, on the outskirts of Aberfeldy in Perthshire – yet it took 10 days for police to reveal he was murdered, prompting concerns from MPs.

He had worked for 20 years on the nearby 4,000-acre Edradynate Estate, owned by City financier Michael Campbell, until retiring last year.

The estate – whose owner Mr Campbell has paid tribute to the victim – has been at the centre of four police probes over the past 15 years.

Reports have suggested Mr Low – who was walking his black Labrador dog Millie – was shot by a gunman firing from long rather than short range, a theory based on an absence of ‘scorching’ residue on the body. 

Brian Law, 65, was shot dead and found next to his black Labrador dog Millie

Brian Law, 65, was shot dead and found next to his black Labrador dog Millie

Police have been scouring the crime scene in the Pitilie area near Aberfeldy in Perthshire

Police have been scouring the crime scene in the Pitilie area near Aberfeldy in Perthshire

A cordon was put in place by Police Scotland where Mr Low was found shot on February 17

A cordon was put in place by Police Scotland where Mr Low was found shot on February 17

82410241 13191263 image a 31 1710330625184

Mr Low was a former groundsman on the nearby 4,000-acre Edradynate Estate

A source was quoted as saying: ‘This was a targeted assassination by a marksman who hit Mr Low in the head from distance.

‘Initially, his death was treated as non-suspicious. But the post-mortem a week later revealed the bullet wound that proved fatal.

‘If a shot is fired close up, there is scorching but that wasn’t the case here – meaning it was from a distance away.’

SNP MP Pete Wishart has asked Police Scotland for an ‘urgent clarification’ on why it took them so long to begin murder inquiries, after Mr Low’s death was initially treated as ‘medical or non-suspicious’.

A post-mortem revealed the bullet wounds on February 23 – and the public was not told Mr Low had been shot until February 27, 10 days after the killing.

Police carried out spot checks on cars and pedestrians in the area last Saturday, stopping118 vehicles and 18 pedestrians in the space of two hours.

The questioning was carried out on the remote path where Mr Low was found dead, in Aberfeldy town centre and on the A827 north of the town.

Local postman Jedd Burke, 30, has described the victim as ‘one of the nicest men I’ve known’. 

Police and forensics have been examining the remote footpath where the body was found

Police and forensics have been examining the remote footpath where the body was found

Mr Low had tended the grounds for Michael Campbell on the Edradynate Estate (pictured)

Mr Low had tended the grounds for Michael Campbell on the Edradynate Estate (pictured)

A police officer was seen talking with a postman at the site where Mr Low was found

A police officer was seen talking with a postman at the site where Mr Low was found

And a spokesman for Edradynate Estate told The Times: ‘He worked for us for about 20 years and was much liked and much respected and we’re very, very shocked about the news.

‘He was lovely. A good chap, a very nice chap. Hard-working. He wouldn’t say boo to a goose. He’s a nice guy so very sad, very sad news.’

Wealthy businessman Mr Campbell himself sent his ‘deep condolences’ to the victim’s family.

A spokesman for the financier and property developer said: ‘Further to the extremely sad news of the death of Brian Low; we can confirm that Brian worked for the Estate as a groundsman and retired from his role in February 2023.

‘We send our deepest condolences to Brian’s family. We have no further comment to make at this time.’

The estate hit the headlines in 2018 when a gamekeeper was cleared of poisoning it late at night amid a dispute with the owner.

David Campbell was acquitted at Perth Sheriff Court of deliberately sabotaging game crops to get back at Michael Campbell after losing his job.

Sheriff Gillian Wade ruled the case against him had not been proved beyond reasonable doubt.

Businessman Michael Campbell (pictured) owns the nearby Edradynate Estate where Mr Low had worked and has sent his 'deepest condolences' to the victim's family

Businessman Michael Campbell (pictured) owns the nearby Edradynate Estate where Mr Low had worked and has sent his ‘deepest condolences’ to the victim’s family

Police tape was stuck on a Pitilie sign by the track leading to where Mr Low was found

Police tape was stuck on a Pitilie sign by the track leading to where Mr Low was found

The death is being treated as murder after a post-mortem examination - after police initially deemed it 'medical or non-suspicious'

The death is being treated as murder after a post-mortem examination – after police initially deemed it ‘medical or non-suspicious’

It emerged police had previously investigated activities on the estate four times in the previous 15 years.

These included a 2018 probe after three dogs and two birds of prey were poisoned.

At the time, Michael Campbell’s estate labelled the incidents ‘appalling’ and offered a £5,000 reward for information.

And in 2002 two gamekeepers walked free from court after charges of poisoning birds of prey at the estate were dropped.

Now police have said someone in the local community holds the key to catching Mr Low’s killer.

Det Supt Lorna Ferguson, who described Mr Low’s family as ‘completely devastated and heartbroken’, said there had been a ‘number of additional lines of inquiry’ and it was important to remain ‘open minded about a possible motive in this case’.

She added: We are confident the answer to this investigation lies within the local community. Somebody knows something.

‘Even if you feel the information you hold is not important, we would still ask you to contact us. It could be crucial to getting the answers we need for Brian’s family.’

A Police Scotland vehicle at the site where the body of Brian Low was found last month

A Police Scotland vehicle at the site where the body of Brian Low was found last month

The public were not told it was a murder inquiry until 10 days after Brian Low's death

The public were not told it was a murder inquiry until 10 days after Brian Low’s death

Reports have suggested Mr Low was shot from long range in a 'targeted assassination'

Reports have suggested Mr Low was shot from long range in a ‘targeted assassination’

Mr Low’s niece Jacqui Low, who lives in Fife, said last month as a photo of the victim was released: ‘We are at a complete loss as to how this has happened to Brian.

‘His partner and brothers are devastated and appeal to anyone who has any information to come forward.

‘His devoted dog, Millie, stayed by his side for as long as she was allowed and is being cared for by his immediate family.’

The dog was found safe and well beside Mr Low’s body.

The Pitilie area is about three miles south of the Edradynate Estate and just outside Aberfeldy.

The Police Investigation and Review Commissioner, Police Scotland’s watchdog, is to probe the force’s handling of the investigation.

Investigators have admitted evidence could have been lost in the early days when the death was thought to be ‘medical or non-suspicious’, with police cordons not put up until four days later.

SNP MSP John Swinney has written to Police Scotland’s chief constable for answers, saying: ‘I am deeply concerned about the handling of this investigation by Police Scotland.

The Police Investigation and Review Commissioner is to probe Police Scotland's handling of the investigation into Brian Low's death

The Police Investigation and Review Commissioner is to probe Police Scotland’s handling of the investigation into Brian Low’s death

Officers have been questioning drivers and pedestrians in Aberfeldy and on the nearby A827

Officers have been questioning drivers and pedestrians in Aberfeldy and on the nearby A827 

Mr Low was killed while walking his dog near his cottage home in the Pitilie area

Mr Low was killed while walking his dog near his cottage home in the Pitilie area

‘It is unfathomable that it was not noticed on February 17 that Brian Low had died due to having been shot.

‘I cannot understand why a medical examination did not take place immediately and a post-mortem did not take place until the following Friday.’

And Pete Wishart, the SNP’s MP for the area, said: ‘The sequence of events around the shooting in Aberfeldy are becoming quite bizarre and concerning.

‘I will be seeking a clear explanation of events from police and emergency services.’



Source link