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Scots architect Wallet shot dead by enraged contractor

Scottish architect Victor Swindall was trying to pick up the pieces of the practice he works for this week after his boss at Irvine-based AGM Architects, Gordon Wallet, was shot dead in front of his family by a contractor who eventually turned his gun on himself.

Swindall, an associate and long-term friend of Wallet, 45, told the AJ he was 'shocked' at the fatal shooting, which took place on Monday over nonpayment for a house improvement contract.

'It's tragic and quite unbelievable, ' he said.

'There's so much to do and yet nothing I can do.

Gordon was an innocent fall guy in all of this.'

Wallet, who ran the two-man practice, died instantly after being shot - twice in the face, according to locals - on his doorstep at 6.30am.

As he opened the front door of his house in the Scottish village of Uplawmoor in Renfrewshire, local plasterer Stephen Martin, whose roughcasting work Wallet had advised the client was not up to standard, opened fire. Wallet's wife Margaret was with him at the time, along with their two teenage children, who are said to have hidden to avoid the gunfire.

Armed police officers launched a manhunt for Martin and found his body in Neilston shortly after 8pm that evening.

Wallet's murder was Martin's second shooting incident during the day as he sought revenge for the architect's failure to approve payment for work he had carried out on a farmhouse in Uplawmoor.

At 6am the plasterer had gone to the isolated farmhouse owned by Archibald and Myra Pollock, where he had carried out the roughcasting work, and started blasting off shots.

Windows were smashed and chunks shot out of the masonry, but the couple were not injured.

Thirty minutes later Martin arrived outside the house of Wallet and killed the architect.

Armed police had surrounded Martin's house in Neilston but the siege was ended when his body was discovered three hours later.

Joe Freckleton of nearby one-man Irvine practice Freckleton Design, who described himself as having been a 'friendly rival' to Wallet, said the town was devastated. 'Everyone's in a state of shock and can't believe it's happened, ' he said.

'Everyone's numb.'

As the AJ went to press, Wallet's daughter, also an architect, was flying up to Scotland. Swindall paid tribute to gestures of goodwill coming in from clients and said he was meeting with the practice's accountant to seek ways forward.

'One way or another we'll put this back together, ' he said. 'We're not going to let the practice go down the tubes.'

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