JAILED: Twin brothers who left a charity cyclist to die

Twin brothers who left a charity cyclist to die on a remote Highland roadside after hitting him with their pick-up truck before hiding his body in a stink pit (a pit where gamekeepers dump animal carcasses) have been jailed for a total of 17 years and three months.

As we reported earlier this month (see ‘Evil brothers buried charity cyclist in stink pit on shooting estate‘), Alexander McKellar, 31, had pleaded guilty to causing the death of charity cyclist Anthony 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.

McKellar had been drinking with a party of German deer hunters and was drunk when he left the hotel in pouring rain.

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 in a stink pit on the Auch Estate.


The remote Auch Estate (photograph Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service)


While there is no suggestion that estate managers or owners were involved in this awful crime, 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. 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 handguns and stocking a banned poison”? Tom McKellar – the father of the twins who five years later mowed down a cyclist and unceremoniously dumped him into a hole they dug with an excavator on an estate they clearly knew well.

Mr Parsons, in contrast, was a cancer survivor, retired naval officer, and “much-loved husband, dad and grandad”.

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 finish cycling a 104-mile (167km) route to his home in Tillicoultry to raise funds for a prostate charity.

Despite extensive searches involving local mountain rescue teams, volunteers, Police Scotland dogs and the force’s air support unit, he was never seen alive again.

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, and remarkably he had taken her to where Mr Parsons was buried. She left a can of Red Bull in the ground as a marker which police later used to find the exact location of the burial site.



The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) website are reporting today that sentencing has now been handed down.

Alexander McKellar will spend 12 years in prison after admitting charges of culpable homicide and trying to defeat the ends of justice. Robert McKellar was sentenced to five years and three months’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to trying to defeat the ends of justice.

Ruth McQuaid, Procurator Fiscal, said:

“These brothers failed in their attempts to obstruct and evade justice. 

“These were heinous and calculating crimes which brought untold distress to Mr Parsons’ wife, children, and grandchildren.  

“They were left in the intolerable situation of not knowing where he was or what had happened to him.

The fact that Anthony’s disappearance was subject to a major missing persons enquiry for several years meant his family were left in the dark over his whereabouts.

“But all the time, Alexander and Robert McKellar were going about their everyday lives knowing that, in fact, he was dead and that they had buried him amongst animal carcasses.

Mr Parson’s family issued a statement. They said that

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.”


It is sobering to think that if McKellar hadn’t taken a quick-thinking girlfriend onto the estate, Mr Parsons would in all likelihood still be listed as a missing person.

And as other commentators will undoubtedly note, if criminals like these can drive onto an estate, use powerful machinery to dig a hole, dump a body, cover it up, and leave again with no one noticing – what chance of ever finding the corpse of a bird of prey or a protected mammal killed on any one of hundreds of large shooting estates across the UK?