Drink-driver admits to killing cyclist and burying the body with twin

Drink-driver who killed former a Navy officer who was on a charity bike ride got his twin brother to help bury the body which was only found three years later

  • Alexander McKellar admitted to killing Tony Parsons with his car in 2017 

A drink-driver yesterday admitted killing a charity cyclist and then burying the body with the help of his twin brother.

Alexander McKellar ploughed into Tony Parsons in his Isuzu pick-up on the A82 between Bridge of Orchy, Argyll, and Tyndrum, Perthshire.

McKellar and his twin Robert then tried to cover up the crime, on September 29, 2017, by burying the 63-year-old former Navy officer in nearby woods.

The disappearance of Mr Parsons sparked a major missing person probe, which included a BBC Crimewatch appeal by his son Mike.

His remains were finally found on January 12, 2021, three years after he was killed. Both McKellars, 31, from Argyll, had been due to stand trial accused of murder.

But, via his KC Brian McConnachie, Alexander yesterday pleaded guilty at the High Court in Glasgow to the reduced charge of culpable homicide.

Alexander McKellar pleaded guilty to culpable homicide and attempting to pervert the course of justice over the death of Tony Parsons, 63, from Tillicoultry, Clackmannanshire

Tony Parsons, 63, from Tillicoultry, Clackmannanshire, who died on September 29, 2017

His brother, represented by John Scullion, KC, had his not guilty plea to murder accepted. 

Along with Alexander, he admitted a charge of attempting to defeat the ends of justice.

Prosecutor Alex Prentice, KC, revealed that Alexander had previous road traffic convictions including dangerous driving and drink-driving.

The court heard how Mr Parsons had travelled from his home in Tillicoultry, Clackmannanshire, in September 2017 to Fort William, Inverness-shire, intending to return south as part of a charity bike ride.

The amended culpable homicide charge stated that Alexander drove at excess speed while unfit through alcohol on the night of the killing.

Prosecutors stated that Alexander failed to observe Mr Parsons, who was cycling on the A82, and caused his vehicle to hit the father of two.

The driver failed to get medical help for the victim in ‘reckless disregard for the consequences’.

The cyclist was said to have been abandoned at the side of the road in a dark and remote area in ‘inclement weather’.

Both McKellars knew what had happened and took extreme steps to cover up the crime, the court heard. 

The damaged pick-up was dumped at the nearby Auch Estate along with their phones. 

Using another car they returned to the scene, where Mr Parsons was still lying, and hauled him along with his bicycle and other personal belongings into the vehicle.

The brothers initially hid him in woods at the Auch Estate.

They later returned and moved the body to a location used ‘for the purposes of disposing of dead animals’. 

Mr Parsons was reported missing on October 2, 2017.

Prosecutors said the brothers got help in trying to repair the vehicle used in the killing, claiming damage had been caused by hitting a deer. 

The charge stated all this was to ‘prevent and delay the discovery of the body’.

It was said they did ‘obstruct’ the police from conducting a ‘full and proper investigation’.

Mr Parsons’s body was discovered by specialist police search officers in a remote area close to a farm near the A82.

Members of his family, including his wife and two adult children, were at the hearing yesterday.

Lord Armstrong adjourned the hearing until tomorrow and the pair were remanded in custody.

Robert McKellar who pled guilty to attempting to pervert the course of justice over the death of Tony Parsons, 63, from Tillicoultry, Clackmannanshire on September 29, 2017

The final journey of former naval officer and charity cyclist Tony Parsons

Police search a Highland farm at Auch Estate in connection with the disappearance of Tony Parsons on January 8, 2021 in Bridge of Orchy, Scotland

In a statement issued through Police Scotland, Mr Parsons’s family said: ‘Tony was a much-loved husband, dad and grandad.

‘Throughout the six years since he went missing and then the subsequent criminal investigation, we had been left with many unanswered questions and it has been heart-breaking for each and every member of the family being unable to get these answers.

‘As you can imagine, not knowing what has happened to someone and then the devastating news that we were provided has taken its toll on all of us as a family.

‘We would like to request privacy at this time so that we can finally grieve and come to terms with the outcome of the trial and a life without Tony.’

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