Maxwell Robert Garvie lived at West Cairnbeg
Farm, Kincardineshire, Scotland, with his wife, Sheila, and their
three children. The couple had married in 1955 and by 1964 Max had
become interested in pornography and nudism and helped found a
nudist club in the grounds of their farm. Mrs Garvie was
complaining that her husband's sexual demands were "abnormal."
In 1967 Sheila Garvie met 22-year-old Brian
Tevendale and he started to help around the farm at weekends.
Tevendale introduced his sister Trudy Birse to the Garvies and
they made up a regular sexual foursome. Trudy was married to a
policeman in Aberdeen and the arrangement stirred a lot of local
gossip. In March 1968 Sheila ran away with Tevendale to Bradford
but her husband went after her and persuaded her to return.
On 19th May Maxwell Garvie was
reported missing by his sister, Hilda Kerr. The last time he had
been seen was about 10pm on the 14th May at a Scottish Nationalist
Party meeting at Stonehaven. Garvie's car had turned up parked
across the runway at the flying club at Fordoun. Woods were
searched and wells were drained but no sign of the missing man
could be found.
Finally Sheila admitted to her
mother, Mrs Watson, that Maxwell was dead and hinted that
Tevendale was responsible for his disappearance. Mrs Watson went
to the police and recounted the story. On 16th August Sheila
Garvie and Brian Tevendale were arrested. The next day Maxwell
Garvie's body was found in an underground drain at Lauriston
Castle, near St Cyrus. He had been bludgeoned and shot in the
head. Also arrested was Alan Peters, a close friend of Tevendale.
All three were charged with the murder.
At their trial at Aberdeen in
November 1968 a story emerged of Maxwell Garvie and Trudy Birse as
lovers, she apparently did not object too strongly to his
preferences, and of intimacy between Sheila Garvie and Brian
Tevendale. Alan Peters told of how Tevendale had shot Garvie in
bed and how they had disposed of the body.
The jury found the case
against Alan Peters not proven but both Sheila Garvie and Brian
Tevendale were found guilty of murder. They both received life
They were released in 1978.
Brian Tevendale became the landlord of a village pub in Perthshire
and died in 2003, and Alan Peters in January 2007.
Swinging... by the neck: Max Garvie pushed his naked,
shivering wife through the bedroom door. At last, he had broken
her will. She stayed with the young man till morning
By Reg McKay - DailyRecord.co.uk
October 19, 2007
SHE was beautiful and bright. He was handsome
and rich. A match made in heaven - or was that hell? Sheila Watson
was beautiful, for sure.
When handsome, debonair and wealthy Max Garvie
courted her, no one in the small north-east Scotland community was
Married in 1955, they seemed destined to
prosper and last. But would they?
Max and Sheila Garvie settled into his family's
luxury farm at Fordoun, Kincardineshire, and had two daughters and
a son in the first few years.
Still only in their late 20s, they seemed to
have everything- money, healthy children, a loving relationship -
then it all went sour.
It was the 1960s and times were changing. Sex,
drugs and rock 'n' roll were all the rage for those who could
afford them. The Garvies could.
Max had been getting bored for some time.
Described as a farmer, he was more of a manager with other people
doing the work and him reaping substantial profits. First fast
cars filled his time, then a private aeroplane.
But he was still bored. Danger was in the air
but no one smelled it.
Max took to drinking heavily and downing
handfuls of tranquillisers, often while flying his private plane
in hands-free, dare-devil stunts over the North Sea. The risks
gave him the buzz he craved but that too soon wore off.
It was his other, more intimate tastes that
started the rot. Sex.
Max organised for a triangle of trees and thick
bushes to be planted near their home. No one thought anything of
it. Farmers did that type of thing to provide shelter against the
north-east's strong elements.
His shelter wasn't for crops. It was for naked
people. Max Garvie had built a nudist colony.
At first only friends were invited. Just some
well-to-do folks having a laugh. These were not times for the shy
The sex orgies followed soon after. Close
friends to start with in small groups. At first Sheila refused
point blank to participate.
She was happy just looking after the kids and
getting on with their lives. It led to rows between her and Max
who called her a fuddy-duddy, square, old fashioned. What had she
to lose? She might like it.
Max was persuasive. Soon Sheila was into the
orgies and as enthusiastic as her husband.
The Garvies were flamboyant. Max with his plane
and his cars. Sheila dressed in the best of fashion, short skirts
and tight tops from Carnaby Street showing her fine figure to
advantage. Even in that area of large estates and farms, the
neighbours were beginning to notice what the Garvies and their
pals were up to.
The sober minded, Doric-speaking villagers
dubbed the Garvies' home Kinky Cottage. If only they'd known the
half of it.
The big scandal in Aberdeen only a few years
before was the trial of young Henry Burnett. He'd had an affair
with an older married woman, Margaret Guyan, and went insane with
jealousy when she returned to her husband, Thomas.
On May 31, 1963, Burnett had forced his way
into the couple's house and shot Thomas in the face at point blank
Burnett then took his erstwhile lover hostage,
threw her into a car and drove wildly through the city with the
cops on his tail. It could have turned into a bloody shoot out,
but Burnett surrendered after half an hour.
A crime of passion. But crimes of passion have
no status in Scots law. Henry Burnett was hanged in Aberdeen on
August 15, 1963 - the last man to be hanged in Scotland.
Such lurid details of affairs aired in open
court shocked polite society in Aberdeen. Now the Garvies' sex
games were doing the same. And all wasn't well at Kinky Cottage.
Max Garvie was slowly losing the plot. As the
sex orgies broke one taboo, he had to move to new challenges. He
found his next move in a most unexpected setting.
Garvie was an office bearer in the SNP. There
he met a handsome young man, 20-year-old Brian Tevendale. Max had
already had a few affairs with young men and was certainly
attracted to Tevendale but he had other plans for him.
Tevendale was invited to the Garvies' home
frequently. Max would leave the young man alone with Sheila and
later demand to know from his wife if the two had had sex. Sheila
was upset at the very thought.
The orgies with friends were something she and
Max did together. For her to have sex with another man on her own
was like an affair, infi-delity. Sheila wasn't that type - not
One night in 1967, Tevendale was staying over
at the Garvies' yet again. In the early hours, his bedroom door
was suddenly opened and a naked, shivering Sheila shoved into the
room by her husband. At last he had broken his wife's will.
Now the games took a new turn with Max and
Brian tossing a coin to see who would sleep with Sheila. When Max
lost he insisted the three go to bed together. Then Max started an
affair with Tevendale's sister, Trudi Birse.
A policeman's wife, Trudi joined in
four-in-a-bed romps with the Garvies and her own brother. Trudi's
husband even joined in though Max thoughtfully arranged another
female partner for him.
Never mind swinging London. It was fair birling
in the Mearns - at least at Kinky Cottage.
Max had a low boredom threshold and soon tired
of Trudi Birse. He wanted him and Sheila to dump their playmates
and find new ones. She refused.
To his horror, Max realised Sheila and
Tevendale had fallen for each other.
Used to getting his own way, Max tried to come
between them. The man who had forced them together now tried to
prise them apart. On the morning of May 15, 1968, Sheila Garvie
wakened in bed to find her husband gone - or so she said.
Reporting the matter to the police, Sheila said that nothing
unusual had happened the night before.
Max Garvie was posted as a missing person.
In August, for reasons best known to her,
Sheila shared some suspicions with her mother, Edith Watson, that
her lover, Tevendale, had killed her husband. Law-abiding Mrs
Watson went straight to the cops.
On August 17, 1968, Max Garvie's putrefied body
was found in the drains of Laurieston Castle, St Cyrus -
Tevendale's home village.
Immediately, Sheila Garvie, Brian Tevendale and
one of his friends, 20-year-old Alan Peters were charged with
Sordid - was how judges, lawyers and the media
described the trial at Aberdeen High Court on November 19, 1968.
As the sexual shenanigans unfolded, Sheila Garvie and Brian
Tevendale blamed each other.
Sheila claimed she woke in the middle of the
night to discover Tevendale and Peters had murdered Max.
Tevendale said the killing was Sheila's idea
and he had gone along with it out of infatuation. The prosecution
claimed Sheila and Brian had coldly plotted the murder.
According to the Crown, Sheila persuaded
Tevendale to murder Max so they could pursue their relationship.
On the night, Sheila went to bed with Max and
had sex with him. In the early hours she slipped out of bed and
let Tevendale and Alan Peters into the house, handing them a .22
rifle belonging to Max. With Sheila watching from the bedroom
doorway, Tevendale smashed Max's skull with the butt. Then,
placing a pillow over the man's face, he shot him once in the
The three went downstairs, their nerves
shattered, and drank a whole bottle of whisky.
The men wrapped Max's corpse in a blanket,
dumped him in the boot of Peters' car and took him to his last
resting place in the drains of Laurieston Castle.
The media had a field day feeding the public's
desire for details. Church groups spoke out about sinning leading
Back in the High Court, Aberdeen, the jury
found the case against Alan Peters not proven. Brian Tevendale was
unanimously found guilty of murder. Sheila Garvie was found guilty
of murder by a majority verdict.
She almost slipped away an innocent woman, but
in Scots law a majority of will do.
A short time before, the pair would undoubtedly
have been hanged for their crime. But capital punishment had been
repealed and they were sentenced to life.
At the end of the trial, Sheila wrote to
Tevendale in Perth Prison: "I have decided to have nothing more to
do with you ever again."
The great passion that had led them to cold
murder had died.
An insurance company confirmed Sheila had stood
to gain £55,000 on one policy alone as well as other policies, the
farm, investments and capital. Sheila and Tevendale were never to
Both were released in 1978. Tevendale married
and became the landlord of a pub in Perthshire. He died in 2003.
Sheila married twice - she was divorced once
and then widowed. She led a steady, respectable existence running
a B&B in Stonehaven. Quieter days than her swinging years as
mistress of Kinky Cottage.
Max Garvie pushed his naked/ shivering wife
through the bedroom door. At last/ he had broken her will. She
stayed with the young man till morning.
Brian Tevendale Killer who
famously murdered his lover's husband
December 17, 2003
Brian Tevendale, the famous killer who held
centre stage at one of Scotland's most sensational murder trials,
has died at the age of 58.
Some 35 years after he and his lover Sheila
Garvie were sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of her
husband, Max, as he lay asleep in his farmhouse in the Mearns,
Tevendale collapsed and died in his Perthshire home. It is
suspected that he suffered a heart attack.
The Garvie trial, which was held at Aberdeen in
December, 1968, saw some unprecedented scenes at the High Court,
with queues forming from 2.45am to hear the final day of the
The jury was unanimous in its guilty verdict
for Tevendale and found Sheila Garvie guilty by majority.
Tevendale's workmate, Alan Peters, who was
accused of accompanying him, walked free when a not proven verdict
Brian Tevendale was born in Stonehaven in 1945,
the youngest of three children. His father was Major Lewis
Tevendale, a former policeman who won the DCM for his heroism in
the Second World War.
Tevendale was brought up in the Bush Hotel,
which his father owned, near St Cyrus. After attending Montrose
Academy, he went to wireless college in Aberdeen. Yet he gave up
after just a year when his father died. He then joined the army.
That career was short-lived when he went absent
without leave and ''borrowed'' a car with another recruit who was
in the medical corps.
He returned to what was an apparently
unremarkable civilian life until he and his sister, Trudi, who was
married to a policemen, Fred Birse, became entangled with the
Trudi Birse became Max Garvie's mistress and he
was happy to share not only his love of Scottish nationalism with
Trudi's brother, Brian Tevendale, but also his wife - as long as
there was no emotional involvement.
As the murder trial went on, stories emerged of
orgies at a rural hideaway called ''kinky cottage'' and of Max
Garvie's insatiable desire for drugs, drink and sex.
On some occasions, Max Garvie and Tevendale
were said to have tossed a coin to decide who would sleep with
However, the 23-year-old bearded mechanic
Tevendale and the attractive 33-year-old wife of the so-called
''flying farmer'' fell in love, and when Garvie ended his affair
with Trudi Birse, their romance continued.
The outwardly respectable farmer had a vicious
streak and his repeated violence led to his wife and Tevendale
plotting his murder.
As he slept in his West Cairnbulg home on May
14, 1968, his wife opened the door to Tevendale.
Sheila Garvie led her lover to her husband's
bed and handed him the rifle with which he then shot him through
Max Garvie's body was wrapped in a sheet and
dumped in an underground tunnel near Lauriston Castle. It was only
found after Sheila Garvie's mother told police that her daughter
had said that she thought her husband had been murdered by her
boyfriend. During the trial, the victim's yellowed skull was
produced as a major piece of evidence, causing one juror to faint.
When in court, Garvie declared her love for
Tevendale. Even after their conviction it was reported that the
two planned to seek permission to marry in prison. However, three
months after the trial was over, she wrote to him to tell him: ''I
have decided to have nothing more to do with you ever again.''
Tevendale said later he believed she wrote the
letter because she was being denied access to her children, Wendy,
Angela and Lloyd.
The two never met again. They both spent 10
years in prison and when he was released, Tevendale married and
became the landlord of a village pub in Perthshire.
He died of a suspected heart attack in Scone
just days before he was due to leave Scotland for a new life in
Sheila Garvie is a familiar figure in
Stonehaven, where she has lived for many years.
After her release from prison, she ran her
aunt's guest house in Aberdeen and married a Rhodesian welder.
The marriage quickly failed but she married for
a third time, to drilling engineer, Charles Mitchell, and lived
happily with him until his death 11 years ago.