David Wilson murder trial: Victim and killer were 'complete strangers'

David Wilson and Daniel Johnson were complete strangers, a fact which meant police were forced to make repeated appeals to the public for help in identifying the killer.

“From the outset, this was a stranger murder which, in effect, means that the offender and the victim are not known to each other and our investigations have shown that David Wilson had never met Daniel Johnson,” said Detective Superintendent Mark Ord, who led the investigation into David Wilson's death.

David Wilson, left, and Daniel Johnson, who has been convicted of his murder.

David Wilson, left, and Daniel Johnson, who has been convicted of his murder.

Read more: Killer faces life behind bars after being found guilty of David Wilson murder

“Our inquiries necessarily meant that we had to make numerous media appeals and appeals to the community in a variety of forms with the support of David’s family and those appeals focused on two key things.

“They focused on the CCTV footage we had of that robbery at the post office - and we asked the community to come forward and tell us who they thought that was - and they focussed on the call.

“We released extracts of the call and asked the community to come forward and tell us, did they recognise the voice on that call and, if they did, who was it?

Daniel Johnson, captured on CCTV.

Daniel Johnson, captured on CCTV.

“We got exactly what we asked for - we got several dozen nominations of people who could either have been captured on the CCTV or, in fact, were the caller.

“Each of those nominations needed to be the subject of a detail investigation and we had to either implicate those individuals in the murder of David Wilson or eliminate them completely from it.

“It was only in March of 2016 when we get that breakthrough. The final media appeal led to a member of the community, as many had done before, ringing up and telling us that they had recognised the voice and they gave us the name of Daniel Johnson.

Read more: Police - 'we may never know why killer murdered David Wilson

“And those same lines of inquiry conducted with all those many that had come before we conducted into Daniel Johnson and we were able to prove that Daniel Johnson was, in fact the caller and that he was in fact the person who robbed David Wilson’s partner of his keys.

“Further inquiries into Daniel Johnson revealed he had told us he had been to a house party in Town End Farm on that call but actually he had really been to a house party 500 metres way from where David Wilson was murdered.

“Interviews and inquires with those party-goers identified that many of them had recorded photographs and video imagery of people at that party that night.

“We were able to go back through social media, through Facebook and capture those images, which showed Daniel Johnson at that party, on that night, wearing the distinctive red bobble hat, the two-tone jacket, the white trainers and the two-tone t-shirt, clothing he was later captured in on the CCTV at the Post Office when he robbed David Wilson’s partner of the keys .

“So, in effect, we had imagery of him at a party wearing clothes identical to the clothing worn by the person who had robbed David Wilson’s partner.

Read more: David Wilson's family speaks of 'emotional rollercoaster' following dad's killing

“We, in effect, then interviewed every family member, every friend of Daniel Johnson and we were able to identify , with their assistance, that the caller was categorically Daniel Johnson, a fact that he later accepted in court and that also the imagery was that of Daniel Johnson."

During the trial, the court heard that another man had come forward and confessed to Mr Wilson’s murder.

But Det Supt Ord said he had quickly been eliminated from the investigation.

Read more: How the investigation into David Wilson's murder unfolded

“It’s not unusual in a case of this nature, where we protectively appeal to the wider community to come forward and identify individuals, it is not unusual that we get other individuals’ names brought into that investigation.

“What was unusual in this case was that individual had, at some point, claimed to have killed David Wilson, but we could show from the claim that it was so inaccurate that it was untrue.”

Detectives had also investigated Mr Wilson’s partner Scott Hoyle, who was eliminated from any responsibility for David’s death.

CCTV footage of Daniel Johnson is attached to this story. Johnson is marked with a red circle or arrow. Mr Wilson's partner, Scott Hoyle, is marked with a yellow arrow.