Twin brothers to stand trial accused of murdering charity cyclist Tony Parsons

The McKellar brothers will stand trial at the High Court in Glasgow in 2023 (Andrew Milligan/PA) (PA Wire)
The McKellar brothers will stand trial at the High Court in Glasgow in 2023 (Andrew Milligan/PA) (PA Wire)

Twin brothers are to stand trial next year accused of murdering a cyclist and disposing of his body on a country estate.

Prosecutors allege that a car driven by Alexander McKellar collided with Tony Parsons, 63, leaving him seriously injured as he was cycling on the A82 in the Bridge of Orchy area on September 29, 2017.

Alexander and Robert McKellar, who was a passenger in the vehicle, are accused of assaulting Mr Parsons and failing to seek medical attention for him following the collision with “wicked and reckless disregard” for the consequences of their actions.

It is alleged that they abandoned him at the side of the road during the hours of darkness while they went to Auch Estate, then returned in another vehicle and transported him and his bicycle to the estate where they concealed him under a tarpaulin or similar covering and abandoned him whereby he died, and that they murdered him.

Tony Parsons went missing on a charity cycle in 2017 (Police Scotland/PA) (PA Media)
Tony Parsons went missing on a charity cycle in 2017 (Police Scotland/PA) (PA Media)

The brothers, aged 30, are also accused of attempting to defeat the ends of justice between September 29 2017 and January 3 2021, by digging a grave on the estate, depositing his body there, covering it with animal remains and bleach and burying him.

Mr Parsons, a former naval petty officer, was reported  missing in 2017, aged 63, while on a charity cycle from his home in Tillicoultry, Clackmannanshire, to Fort William, Highlands.

His remains were discovered in January 2021 in a remote area of ground close to a farm near the A82 at Bridge of Orchy.

Prosecutors allege that the brothers pretended that damage caused to the vehicle that struck Mr Parsons had been caused by a collision with a deer.

Alexander McKellar is also charged with causing the death of Mr Parsons by dangerous driving by driving at excessive speed during the hours of darkness when his ability to drive was impaired by alcohol, or an alternative charge of causing death by driving without due care or attention while unfit through drink or drugs.

During a virtual hearing on Tuesday, his lawyer, Brian McConnachie KC, said that his client offered to plead guilty to causing death by dangerous driving and to a much reduced version of the attempting to defeat the ends of justice charge, but not guilty to the murder charge, however, the Crown did not accept the plea.

Robert McKellar’s lawyer, John Scullion KC, entered not guilty pleas to the charges on his behalf during the hearing.

Advocate Depute James Irvine called for a trial date to be set.

He said: “The Crown is ready for trial and the trial may last around nine days.”

Lady Stacey fixed a trial date for July 21 2023 at the High Court in Glasgow.