The murder trial of Alexander and Robert McKellar, accused of hitting charity cyclist Tony Parsons while driving under the influence before murdering him and disposing of his body on a country estate, is set to get underway at Glasgow's High Court today.
Mr Parsons — who was 63 when he was reported missing while on a 104-mile charity bike ride from Fort William to his home in Tillicoultry, Clackmannanshire, in September 2017 — was last seen at around 11.30pm on the evening of the 29th outside the Bridge of Orchy Hotel in Argyll and Bute.
Repeated police appeals and searches failed to find the cyclist or his bike but, after the McKellar brothers were arrested in December 2020, Mr Parsons' remains were discovered on 12 January 2021 close to a farm on the Aulch Estate near Bridge of Orchy.
Prosecutors allege a car being driven by Alexander McKellar, in which Robert was a passenger, hit Mr Parsons. Both men deny murdering the cyclist, Alexander's KC last year offered to plead guilty to causing death by dangerous driving or, alternatively, careless driving while unfit through drink or drugs, but the plea was rejected by prosecutor James Irvine.
It is alleged that after the collision on the A82, the brothers failed to seek medical attention, showing "wicked and reckless disregard" for the consequences.
Prosecutors allege the brothers initially abandoned Mr Parsons at the side of a dark, remote road before driving to the Aulch Estate and returning to put the cyclist's body, along with his bike and other belongings, in another vehicle.
The body was then allegedly hidden under a tarpaulin in a wooded section, and that Mr Parsons died, with a grave dug on estate land and the body covered with animal remains and bleach before being buried.
Prosecutors say the brothers, both 30 years old, pretended the damage to the vehicle they had been travelling in was caused by a collision with a deer.
Alexander will also face the additional charges of causing death 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.
The brothers are also accused of attempting to defeat the ends of justice between 29 September 2017 and 3 January 2021.
Robert's lawyer also entered not guilty pleas to the relevant charges for his client during a hearing. It is believed the trial will last around nine days.
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Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.