Evil brothers buried charity cyclist in stink pit on shooting estate

Last week the Daily Record reported that a speeding drunk-driver, Alexander McKellar, 31, had pleaded guilty to causing the death of charity cyclist Tony Parsons by hitting the 63-year-old with his vehicle on the A82 near Bridge of Orchy, Argyll and Bute (Scotland), on September 29, 2017.

He and his twin brother Robert McKellar both appeared in the dock at the High Court in Glasgow, where they also admitted a charge of attempting to defeat the ends of justice by burying Mr Parsons’ body.


Tony Parsons

Mr Parsons, a cancer survivor, retired naval officer, and “much-loved husband, dad and grandad”, had caught the train to Fort William on the day he was last seen and had planned to cycle the 104-mile (167km) journey back to Tillicoultry to raise funds for charity.

He was last seen outside the Bridge of Orchy Hotel (where he had stopped for a coffee) late on the evening of the 29th of September. He had been urged to stay at the hotel overnight but wanted to get home. Despite extensive searches involving local mountain rescue teams, volunteers, Police Scotland dogs and the force’s air support unit, he was never seen again.

His distraught family have been waiting to find out what happened to him ever since.


Drunk driving killer

The Court heard that McKellar, a deer-stalker who often took groups out to kill deer, had been drinking with a German hunting party at a local hotel. After leaving with his twin brother Robert McKellar, he drove into Mr Parsons, causing him severe blunt force trauma and breaking his ribs.

Despite knowing that Mr Parsons was still alive, instead of helping him the two brothers drove to the 9000-acre Auch Estate (where they were reportedly self-employed farm workers living with their parents), dumped their phones, changed vehicles, and went back to pick up Mr Parsons’ body, bike and possessions in a truck. They then drove back to the estate.

The McKellars buried Mr Parsons’ body in a stink pit on the estate. Built by gamekeepers stink pits or ‘middens’ are pits or piles of dumped rotting animal and bird carcasses which literally ‘stink’ and are used as bait to lure animals, most typically foxes, to the pit. The killers are said to have poured bleach on the body and burned Mr Parsons’ possessions. His bike was reportedly hidden behind a waterfall and has never been recovered.

Prosecutors said the brothers tried to repair the car used in the killing, claiming it had been damaged after hitting a deer.


Gruesome discovery

Mr Parsons was ‘missing’ for three years. The mystery of his whereabouts was finally solved when a girlfriend of Alexander McKellar asked him whether there was ‘anything in his past’ that might affect their future together.

Remarkably (though perhaps entirely in keeping with his character) he took her to the estate and showed her where Mr Parsons was buried. She left a can of Red Bull in the ground as a marker to help police find the exact location of the burial site (a photo of which was produced in court).

Police arrested the McKellars on 20 December 2020 and Tony Parsons’ body was recovered for forensic examination in January 2021.

The court was told that the missing cyclist’s body was hidden in such a remote spot that his remains would “unlikely to ever have been found” if the woman hadn’t come forward.


What sort of people commit crimes like this?

More details of this case have emerged in recent days.

Mr Parsons was buried on the Auch Estate, a deer-stalking and fishing sporting estate. While there is no suggestion that the estate was involved in any way with the crime in question, it is the same estate where a poisoned Golden Eagle was found in June 2009 along with a carbofuran-killed fox and a carbofuran-laced sheep carcass. The discovery led to a raid at a farm where carbofuran (a banned and extremely lethal insecticide widely used on some estates to poison birds of prey) was discovered in three separate containers and traces of it within a syringe. Two illegal handguns were also discovered in the loft. Carbofuran is so toxic even its possession (let alone its usage) was made a crime in Scotland by the Possession of Pesticides (Scotland) Order 2005,

The gamekeeper at the Auch Estate convicted in 2012 of “keeping illicit hand guns and stocking a banned poison used for the extermination of wild animals” was one Tom McKellar – father (and role-model?) of the twins who five years later mowed down a cyclist, fled the scene, and unceremoniously buried him amongst the corpses of ‘wild animals’.


Their background perhaps explains why the McKellars were able to behave in such an abhorrent and detached way.

According to a report in the Daily Record,

Locals in Glen Coe have told how the twins, who worked as stalkers on a hunting estate, had been exposed to the killing of animals for much of their lives.”

Another local told reporters that the boys had grown up “in a life where shooting animals, trapping them was a way of life“.

There is of course ample research which shows that there is a direct link between acts of cruelty to animals and violence toward humans. A landmark 1997 study by the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Northeastern University found that animal abusers are five times as likely to also harm other humans.



Sentencing of the evil McKellar brothers will take place in August. While originally charged with murder, advocate depute Alex Prentice KC announced the charges against the McKellar brothers had been amended. Alexander McKellar has admitted to a reduced charge of culpable homicide, but Robert McKellar’s not-guilty plea to the murder was accepted. Both also admit to attempting to defeat the ends of justice (known in other parts of the UK as ‘perverting the course of justice) by hiding Mr Parsons body and not reporting the incident.

All reasonable people will of course offer their condolences to the family of Mr Parsons for their loss and the enormous grief they will have suffered not knowing for years what had happened to their loved one.