STV News is reporting that a man has pled guilty to killing a charity cyclist whose body was found in a country estate in Argyll and Bute.
Alexander McKellar was driving a car under the influence of alcohol with his twin brother Robert riding as a passenger.
He struck former Royal Navy officer Tony Parsons, PICTURED RIGHT, killing him, and then the pair disposed of his body in a grave on a farm near the A82 in the Bridge of Orchy area almost six years ago.
Alexander pled guilty to culpable homicide and attempting to defeat the ends of justice at the High Court in Glasgow on Wednesday.
Robert pled guilty to attempting to defeat the ends of justice.
While originally charged with murder, advocate depute Alex Prentice KC announced the charges against the two brothers had been amended.
Alexander ploughed into Mr Parsons in his Isuzu pick-up on the A82 road between Bridge of Orchy and Tyndrum in Argyll and Bute on September 29, 2017.
McKellar then teamed up with his twin brother Robert to try and cover up the crime, which included burying the 63-year-old ex-navy officer in nearby woods.
Mr Parsons’ disappearance sparked a large scale missing person probe, which included a BBC Crimewatch TV appeal by his son.
It was only in January 12, 2021 – more than three years after he was killed – that his remains were discovered in a remote area of Bridge of Orchy.
Both McKellars – aged 31 – had been due to stand trial accused of Mr Parsons’ murder.
But, via his KC Brian McConnachie, Alexander pled guilty to the reduced charge of culpable homicide.
His brother – represented by defence KC John Scullion – had his not guilty plea to murder accepted. Along with Alexander, he instead admitted to a charge of attempting to defeat the ends of justice.
The pair were remanded in custody as the case was adjourned until Friday of this week when further details are expected to be heard.
Prentice KC revealed Alexander already had a string of road traffic convictions.
He was guilty of dangerous driving in 2009 in Oban.
Three years later, he was convicted of drink driving. The same year, Alexander was guilty of careless driving. Both the latter cases were at Stirling.
Mr Parsons had travelled from his home in Tillicoultry, Clackmannanshire, in September 2017 to Fort William and was intending on returning south as part of a charity bike ride.
The amended culpable homicide charge stated Alexander drove at excess speed and when unfit through alcohol on the night of the killing.
Mr Parsons was cycling on the A82 at the time. Prosecutors stated Alexander failed to observe him and caused his vehicle to hit the dad.
Knowing Mr Parsons was then badly hurt, he failed to get any medical help for the victim in what was described as “reckless disregard for the consequences” of his actions.
The cyclist was said to have been abandoned at the side of the road in the dark and remote area in “inclement weather”.
Mr Parsons was eventually reported missing on October 2, 2017.
Both McKellars knew what had happened and took extreme steps to cover up the crime. The damaged car involved in the killing was dumped at the nearby Auch Estate along with their phones.
They then returned in another car to where Mr Parsons was located.
Mr Parsons was hauled into the car along with his bike and other personal belongings. The brothers went back to the Auch Estate and initially hid the body in a part of the woods.
But the victim was later taken to another location that was used “for the purposes of disposing dead animals”.
A grave was then dug and the body of Mr Parsons dumped in it. He was buried and his personal belongings were disposed of
Prosecutors said the brothers got help in trying to repair the car 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” into the circumstances of the killing.
That charge spanned between September 29, 2017 and January 3, 2021 listing various locations including Bridge of Orchy, Fauldhouse in West Lothian and a garage in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire.
Mr Parsons’ body was eventually discovered later that month by specialist police search officers in a remote area of ground close to a farm near the A82.
Members of Mr Parsons’ family including his wife and two adult children were at Wednesday’s hearing.
After the pleas were accepted on Wednesday, Judge Lord Armstrong said the matter would be continued to the same court on Friday as prosecution and defence agree a joint narrative.