AN EVENT is to be held in the Highlands to mark the anniversary of the mysterious death of Willie McRae, the top lawyer and senior SNP member found dead in his car almost four decades ago.

In 1980, McRae had made headlines after representing a group opposed to dump nuclear waste in the Ayrshire hills at a public inquiry. He won, and the victory proved a major setback in plans for having nuclear waste buried across the UK.

On the evening of Good Friday, April 5, 1985, McRae set off from his flat in Glasgow’s southside for his holiday cottage close to Dornie in Wester Ross. He never arrived.

READ MORE: 'My report on Willie McRae's flat fire went ignored', former policeman says

Instead, on April 6 his car was found by the side of the road. He was in the front seat with a bullet through his right temple.

On Sunday, April 7, McRae died without ever regaining consciousness.

A post-mortem concluded suicide, but questions have persisted for decades. A gun was not found when the scene was first visited by the police, but was when the scene was searched the following week.

READ MORE: Nurse who treated Willie McRae: It wasn't suicide, he was shot

Now, a group of Yessers is looking to hold an event to draw new attention to McRae’s case.

“I've been interested in the story about McRae for a long time and next year's the 40th anniversary,” Pete Smith, a member of Yes Highlands and Islands, told The National.

“I want this year to create an event which will generate enough interest that we can have some serious momentum going by this time next year. This is like a dry run.”

Smith added: “There's a lot of public interest in this story over the years – but there's still a lot of people who don't know about it.

“It's a story that when you start telling people, they go: ‘no, that, that can't be right’.”

Smith pointed to the book Firebrand, by Ron Culley, which examines the McRae case in detail and is also mentioned on the flyer which has been created for the event.

The National:

The flyer states: “Willie Macrae. A ‘state-sanctioned murder’ as a former policeman involved has said, or was it the most peculiar suicide ever, as the authorities would like you to think?

“We believe there needs to be a public inquiry or a cold case review and we ask you to turn out at the site of his shooting on a lonely Highland road 39 years ago on April 6.”

Smith said that they had specifically chosen to spell “Macrae” out like that on the flyer because that is how his name was written by the UK authorities. The “man himself spelled it McRae”, he added.

The event will be held at the Willie McRae Memorial Cairn, on the A87 at the side of Loch Lorne, at 1pm on April 6.