Man who killed cyclist in hit-and-run 'admitted burying victim in marriage confession' to fiancée

28 July 2023, 12:40 | Updated: 28 July 2023, 13:45

Killer driver Alexander McKellar and his twin Robert who were jailed. (Inset) cyclist Tony Parsons
Killer driver Alexander McKellar and his twin Robert who were jailed. (Inset) cyclist Tony Parsons. Picture: Police Scotland/PA

By Asher McShane

A drink-driver who admitted killing a cyclist by hitting him with his car in 2017 has been jailed after he confessed his crime to his fiancée while sharing secrets before their wedding.

Alexander McKellar hit 63-year-old Tony Parsons with his car on September 29 2017 on the A82 near Bridge of Orchy.

He conspired with his twin brother, leaving Mr Parsons' body - before returning at a later date to move his body to woods in Auch Estate where they buried him in a location used to dispose of dead animals.

His family had thought he had 'disappeared into thin air' after leaving for a charity bike ride and a missing person investigation was launched.

Alexander McKellar, 31, and his twin brother Robert McKellar
Alexander McKellar, 31, and his twin brother Robert McKellar. Picture: Police Scotland

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It wasn't until December 2020 when McKellar told his fiancée what had happened, with a source telling The Sun: "His fiancée asked if he had any secrets to reveal before they got married.

"Were it not for the confession, it would probably still be a mystery to this day.”

Advocate depute Alex Prentice KC explained what happened at Glasgow’s High Court today.

On the day of Mr Parsons' death, they had been with a German hunting group, going drinking with them in the evening at the Bridge of Orchy Hotel.

The advocate depute said that Alexander McKellar began a relationship with a woman in September 2020.

The following November, she asked if there was in anything in his past which could affect their relationship.

Mr Prentice said: "He disclosed that three years previously, he had been driving the Isuzu.

"He said they were driving at excessive speed."

Alexander McKellar told the woman he had been distracted by oncoming headlights and had struck something at the side of the road, which turned out to be a cyclist.

Mr Prentice said: "He said he was panicking."

He told the woman that he and Robert had returned to the A82 road, moving the cyclist's body and possessions into a Toyota, which they drove to the Auch Estate before burying them.

Mr Parson's bicycle was said to have been left behind a waterfall on the estate, though Mr Prentice told the court that there are several waterfalls on the estate and it has never been recovered.

The woman whom McKellar made this disclosure to left a can of Red Bull at the area where Mr Parson's body had been hidden.

She informed the police, with Mr Prentice saying: "As a result of this information, a major investigation was undertaken by the police."

Detectives found the Red Bull can in the location she had described.

It emerged the McKellars had initially placed Mr Parsons body in woods on the Auch Estate, before using an excavator to bury him in a peat bog where animal carcasses were disposed of.

Police arrested the McKellars on December 20 2020 and Mr Parsons' body was recovered for forensic examination in January.

A pathologist determined that the cyclist had suffered "extensive injuries" and he would have been unlikely to survive.

On Wednesday, at the High Court in Glasgow, McKellar pleaded guilty to culpable homicide.

Judge Lord Armstrong said he was adjourning the case for reports and a further hearing will take place on August 25.

Cyclist Mr Parsons didn't come home from a 2017 bike ride and it took over 3 years for his family to get answers
Cyclist Mr Parsons didn't come home from a 2017 bike ride and it took over 3 years for his family to get answers. Picture: PA

McKellar appeared alongside his twin brother, Robert. They both admitted to attempting to defeat the ends of justice.

The court heard how the brothers had left Mr Parsons and returned at a later date to move his body to woods in Auch Estate where they buried him in a location used to dispose of dead animals.

The family of Mr Parsons paid tribute to a "much-loved" husband, dad and grandad.

They said: "Tony was a much-loved husband, dad and grandad. When he said goodbye and set off on his charity cycle from Fort William that Friday, none of us expected it to be the last time we would be able to see or speak to him."

Mike Parsons, Tony's son, arrives at the High Court, Glasgow
Mike Parsons, Tony's son, arrives at the High Court, Glasgow. Picture: Alamy

His family said Mr Parsons loved "nothing more" than spending time with his grandchildren and had a passion for fishing.

The statement added: "Tony was a lover of sports and was a keen golfer. He also spent many years involved with rugby at all levels including playing, coaching mini/midi rugby and refereeing."

His family said they had been left with "unanswered questions" and that it had been "heart-breaking" for them.

They said: "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.

"At last justice has been done and we would like to thank not only the Court officials and officers from Police Scotland's major investigation team, Forth Valley Division; and other Police Scotland Departments who worked on this case, but all the volunteers and mountain rescue teams who tirelessly searched for him in the earlier stages of the inquiry.

"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."

Alexander McKellar pleaded guilty to culpable homicide and attempting to pervert the course of justice and his twin brother Robert McKellar pled guilty to attempting to pervert the course of justice.

They will be sentenced at a later date.

Detective Inspector Fraser Spence, of Police Scotland's major investigation team, said: "The brutal and uncaring actions of these men left the family of Mr Parsons distraught, not knowing what had happened to him for many years.

"It appeared that he had just disappeared into thin air.

"A major policing operation was carried out to try to find Mr Parsons, including searches over a vast and remote area near to where he was last seen.

"In December 2021, information provided to officers led to the brothers being arrested and then charged.

"Further searches were carried out and, in January 2021, human remains were found in a remote area of ground close to a farm near the A82. These were identified as Anthony Parsons.

"Our thoughts are very much with the family and friends of Mr Parsons and I hope that the court outcome now gives them some kind of closure.

"I would like to thank the local community for all their help and assistance during this complex investigation and to members of the public who came forward and provided information.

"I would also like to pay tribute to all the officers who worked on this case and to the dedicated work carried out over many years to bring these men to justice."

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