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 pit set aside for animal carcasses have been jailed for a total of 17 years and three months.
Alexander McKellar, 31, was driving the vehicle at high speed under the influence of alcohol when it struck 63-year-old former navy officer Anthony Parsons late at night on the A82 near Bridge of Orchy, Argyle and Bute, in September 2017.
He then covered up the crime for more than three years with the help of his brother Robert, who was in the passenger seat.
The High Court in Glasgow heard how both men fled the scene before returning in another vehicle and later burying Mr Parsons’ body in a shallow grave on the nearby Auch Estate where they lived and worked as farmhands.
But their cover-up was revealed after Alexander McKellar confessed his crime to a girlfriend who then alerted police.
He was sentenced to 12 years' imprisonment 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 for High Court, Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), 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.
“They kept this secret with wilful disregard for Mr Parson’s family.
“Our thoughts are with those who have been affected by the unconscionable and brutal actions of these two men.”
Prosecutors told the court how father-of-two Mr Parsons vanished after he set off from Fort William on a 100-mile cycle journey in aid of prostate cancer.
His inexplicable disappearance was treated as a missing persons enquiry.
Police launched several nationwide high-profile appeals, including one on BBC’s Crimewatch programme, while his family waited anxiously for news.
However, prosecutors told the court how the McKellar twins already knew he was dead and carried on with their lives with no regard for Mr Parsons’ loved ones.
The twins were arrested following the admission made by Alexander McKellar to his former girlfriend in November 2020.
She then alerted police and later marked the location of the grave with a Red Bull can, which led officers and forensic experts to identify Mr Parsons’ remains.
COPFS cannot comment on the detailed considerations of prosecutors in accepting pleas in individual cases. However, prosecutors have a duty to consider pleas offered by the defence, and will accept pleas that are considered to be in the public interest.