Ten of Scotland’s Most Infamous Murder Cases

A killer pushed his new girlfriend off a cliff in Edinburgh for insurance. Another shot two families in their beds while burglarizing their homes. A third was publicly hanged for killing a neighbor with whom she had quarreled over allegedly stolen lumber. Scotland has had its fair share of gruesome murders, and we’ve compiled this grim gallery outlining ten of them, the first dating back to 1696 and the last to 1977.

Related: The top 10 cases that baffled Scotland Yard

10 roberto balfour

Robert Balfour became the fifth Lord Balfour of Burleigh upon the death of his father, Robert Balfour, in 1713. As a young man, this fifth Balfour did something that his aristocratic parents—his mother, Lady Margaret Melville—opposed. He fell in love with a woman below him in the rigid Scottish social hierarchy of the time. Balfour’s parents reacted by sending him abroad.

Before his departure, Balfour told his young lover that if she married in his absence, he would murder her husband. Seemingly unfazed by this chilling threat, the young Ella married a schoolteacher named Henry Stenhouse. When Balfour returned to Scotland in 1707, she sought out Stenhouse and stabbed him in the shoulder. The wound killed the unfortunate man a couple of weeks later.

Tried and found guilty of murder in 1709, Balfour was sentenced to beheading. But wearing his sister’s clothes, Balfour managed to escape from his cell in Edinburgh prison and clung to his head until his death in 1757.[1]

9 Harry Burnett

Harry Burnett was just 21 years old in 1963 when he fell in love with Margaret Guyan, a woman four years his senior who worked in the same fish curing company as him in the city of Aberdeen. Margaret was married with two children, she had married Thomas Guyan in 1957. But her husband was a sailor who was often away from home and, according to a BBC report, her marriage was “loveless.” “.

Guyan went so far as to move into the Burnett home in Aberdeen, with their youngest son in tow. Burnett turned out to be a controlling and jealous guy who kept his mistress under lock and key. Unsurprisingly, Guyan found this intolerable and decided to return to her seemingly indulgent husband of hers.

Enraged, Burnett procured a shotgun, tracked down Thomas Guyan and, by his own account, “gave him both barrels”. Thomas died instantly. At his trial, Burnett pleaded insane but was found guilty of murder. Burnett was hanged, the last man to be executed in Scotland before capital punishment was abolished throughout the UK.[2]

8 Sheila Garvie and Brian Tevendale

The trial of Sheila Garvie and Brian Tevendale for the murder of Sheila’s husband Max caused an absolute sensation in Scotland in 1968. The country was still in the hands of Protestant Conservatives when it came to social mores. So when the evidence at trial detailed bizarre sexual practices, orgies and nudity, the Scottish public was both horrified and fascinated. Long lines for a place in the public gallery at Aberdeen High Court on trial days formed at 3:30am.

Brian Tevendale and Sheila Garvie had been having an affair which she claimed had started at the instigation of her husband. In turn, Max was having an affair with Tevendale’s sister. At trial, the prosecution said that Ms. Garvie had conspired with Tevendale to murder Mr. Garvie. She had opened the gate to the farm where the couple lived, allowing Tevendale access. She then had given her lover one of her husband’s rifles, and he shot Max out of her as she lay on the bed. Tevendale and Garvie were found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. Both were released in 1978, with Tevendale living on until 2003 and Garvie until 2014.[3]

7 Mary Timney

It’s January 1862 and a man named Lockhart Hannah has just come across a horrible scene. Her sister Anna his lies dead in her cottage on the farm of Carsphad in the southwestern Scottish region of Dumfries. Anna had been badly beaten and had not been in this world long when her brother found her. Next to her body lay two bloody weapons: a knife and an iron bar.

It wasn’t long before the prime suspect was identified. It was Mary Timney, Anna’s next-door neighbor. The two had a prior history of fighting. Even more damning, eyewitnesses who had seen Timney in blood-stained clothing came forward. At the trial, it emerged that Anna had accused Timney of stealing firewood. The judge found Timney guilty after only 30 minutes of deliberation.

In a grim tone, Judge Lord Deas ruled that the murderer should be “hanged by the neck on a gallows until death”. The sentence was to be carried out in public in the town of Dumfries in 1862 despite a relentless campaign for clemency. Mary Timney was the last woman to be publicly hanged in Scotland.[4]

6 patrick carraher

In the 1930s, Glasgow was torn by gang conflicts. The gang names—Norman Conks, Bingo Boys, Tongs, Billy Boys, and San Toy—might have had a certain devilish appeal, but the violence was all too real. Some of the gangs were actually highly organized and even dabbled in politics. Worryingly, at one point, the Billy Boys opened a Glasgow branch of the British Union of Fascists, a Hitlerite party led by renegade politician Sir Oswald Mosley.

One of the most notorious and violent Glasgow gangsters was one Patrick Carraher. Although he came from a respectable blue-collar family, Carraher embarked on a life of crime from an early age, first locked up when he was just 14 years old. It wasn’t just other gang members who fell victim to his slashing and stabbing: innocent bystanders were also on the receiving end of the violence.

But Carraher ultimately went too far when he killed a soldier, John Gordon, in a fight. In the subsequent murder trial, Carraher attempted a defense of psychopathy. He did not wash, and Carraher was hanged in Glasgow’s Barlinnie Prison in 1946. He was 40 years old and had spent about 20 years behind bars.[5]

5 donald forbes

When Donald Forbes was convicted of drug offenses in 2003 at the age of 68, the court sentenced him to 12 years in prison. He had already spent 40 years of his life behind bars. But it was the crimes that Forbes committed before his last stint in prison that were truly shocking.

In 1958, Forbes robbed a fish processing plant in Granton, on the outskirts of Edinburgh. A night watchman resisted and Forbes hit him over the head with a bottle, killing him. For that atrocity, Forbes was sentenced to death in the High Court in Edinburgh. But after a public campaign, the 23-year-old killer’s sentence was commuted to life in prison.

After spending less than a dozen years in jail, Forbes was released in 1970. Just seven weeks later, he killed again, stabbing a man in a pub brawl. After being found guilty, the double murderer received a second life sentence. He got out of it in 1999. As we have seen, four years later, he was convicted of drug trafficking. This time, he actually spent the rest of his life in prison, dying at the age of 73 in 2008.[6]

4 archibald hall

Archibald Hall, born in Glasgow, was a butler and a notorious serial killer. His first murder occurred in Dumfriesshire, in southern Scotland, in 1975, when Hall shot a former lover named David Wright in the head. At first, Hall got his way and moved to London, where he was a butler for the Scott-Elliot family.

In December 1977, Hall bragged to waitress Mary Coggle and petty criminal Michael Kitto that he was planning to rob his employers. He then took his friends to Scott-Elliot’s Kensington apartment. But Mrs. Scott-Elliot showed up unexpectedly and was killed, probably suffocated. The three robbers then put her body in the trunk of Scott-Elliot’s car. They drugged Mr. Scott-Elliot, pushed him into the car as well, and headed for Scotland. There they buried Mrs. Scott-Elliot and killed her husband. Then Hall and Kitto killed Coggle.

Eventually, with Kitto’s help, Hall killed his own half-brother, Donald Hall, apparently suspecting him of committing sexual crimes. The two subdued Donald with chloroform before drowning him in a bath. Police caught the murderous couple near the Scottish coastal town of North Berwick as they prepared to dispose of Donald’s body. Both men received four life sentences each. Hall died in prison in 2002, aged 78.[7]

3 captain kidd

William Kidd was probably born in the Scottish city of Dundee in 1654, although there is some controversy about the facts. In any case, like so many Scotsmen, Kidd was not content to spend his days in his homeland, and by the late 1680s he was the skipper of a ship sailing from New York City.

During the 1690s, Kidd ran as a privateer and fought for the English against the French, protecting merchant ships traveling to and from America. He also undertook English government commissions to root out pirates in the Caribbean. In 1696 Kidd sailed into the Indian Ocean aboard the Adventure Galley to track down and destroy pirate ships. But his crew mutinied and, in a fit of rage, he hurled a heavy bucket at his gunner’s head, killing him.

A victim of the changing political winds, Kidd himself was now accused of being a pirate due to his privateering. He was also charged with the murder of his gunner. Arrested in Boston, Kidd was sent to London for trial. In 1701 Kidd was found guilty of piracy and murder. He was hanged at Wapping on the Thames and his body was suspended in chains by the river.[8]

2 ernest dumoulin

Speaking to a newspaper in 2006, Ernest Dumoulin recalled a night in October 1972, when he was only 21 years old. “It was the darkest night of my life. I held Helga in my arms and kissed her passionately. I wanted her to feel that I loved her above all else,” Dumoulin recalled. He may have really loved his 18-year-old German girlfriend, Helga Konrad, but after that romantic hug, he pushed her off a cliff so she fell 100 feet to her death.

The cliff in question was a section of the Salisbury Crags, an impressive geological feature that looms over Edinburgh. At first, Dumoulin claimed that Helga’s death, which had occurred just days after the two were married, had been a horrible accident.

But the owner of the room in which the couple was staying found a receipt for a life insurance policy for a huge sum, equivalent to more than $8 million today. The policy was to cover Helga. Dumoulin was tried for the murder of his young girlfriend and found guilty. After serving 16 years in a Scottish jail, Dumoulin moved to Germany, where he apparently became a pastor.[9]

1 Pedro Manuel

Born in 1927, Peter Manuel earned his first prison sentence at the age of 15 for a brutally violent robbery. Manuel’s crimes turned deadly in 1956, a few years after he had been released from one of his usual jail terms. He killed 17-year-old Anne Kneilands and dumped her body on a golf course in the Scottish town of East Kilbride. Initially, he escaped justice for that murder thanks to an alibi provided by his father.

Later in 1956, Manuel shot sisters Marion Watt and Margaret Brown, as well as Marion’s daughter Vivienne, in their home. Then he killed 17-year-old Isabelle Cooke and followed it up with another triple murder during a robbery. Peter Smart, his wife Doris and his 11-year-old son Michael were killed by Manuel, shot in their beds. Finally arrested in early 1958, Manuel was tried for eight murders in Glasgow High Court. Sentenced to deathhe was hanged at Barlinnie Prison in July and his body was given to an unmarked grave on the prison grounds.[10]

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