Carlisle river death man 'savagely beaten over drug debt'

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image copyrightFamily handout
image captionA pathologist concluded Lee McKnight was still alive when he was placed in the River Caldew

A man was lured to a house and savagely beaten over an unpaid drug debt before being dumped in a river as he took his "last shallow breaths", a jury heard.

The body of Lee McKnight, 26, was discovered in the River Caldew in Carlisle on the morning of 24 July.

Six people, including a father and son and a mother and daughter, are accused of murder, which they all deny.

Their "joint and concerted efforts" caused Mr McKnight's death, Carlisle Crown Court was told.

The four men and two women, all from Carlisle, are:

  • Jamie Davison, 26, of Beverley Rise
  • Arron Graham, 26, of Blackwell Road
  • Jamie Lee Roberts, 18, of Grey Street
  • Coral Edgar, 26, of Charles Street
  • Carol Edgar, 47, of Charles Street
  • Paul Roberts, 51, of Grey Street

Opening the prosecution, Tim Cray QC said Mr McKnight was in arrears to fellow drug pusher Mr Davison, who himself was being chased for money by "serious dealers".

After being lured to an address in Charles Street he was "punched, kicked, stamped on over and over again".

He suffered 36 lacerations to his head and other injuries thought to have been caused while he was secured to a chair.

A pathologist concluded Mr McKnight was alive and took his "last shallow breaths" when he was put face down in the river.

His body was found, barefoot and partially wrapped in a curtain, by a farmer at about 05:00 BST.

The court heard Mr Davison acted as the "organiser", attacking Mr McKnight with the "extra muscle" of Mr Graham and Mr Roberts Jr.

Coral Edgar is said to have lured Mr McKnight to the address provided by her mother Carol Edgar, whose black Nissan Navara was used to transport him to the river.

Mr Roberts Sr is alleged to have "provided back up" and helped the assailants by bringing changes of clothes and providing advice.

Mr Gray told the court: "The chain of events that led to Lee's death was caused by the joint and concerted efforts of these six defendants.

"The evidence will prove that they all shared the intent to do Lee really serious harm and therefore they are guilty of his murder."

The trial continues.

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