Lee McKnight: Four men and two women guilty of murder

image copyrightFamily handout
image captionLee McKnight's body was found dumped in Carlisle's River Caldew

Four men and two women have been convicted of the murder of a man who was beaten to the point of death and dumped in a river.

Lee McKnight, 26, was lured to a house in Carlisle's Charles Street and later found dead in a river in July 2020.

Mr McKnight, a drugs dealer, was tortured over a debt, Carlisle Crown Court had heard.

All six people, from Carlisle, were found guilty and remanded in custody to be sentenced at a later date.

They are:

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

After six days and more than 27 hours of deliberations, the jury found all defendants guilty of murder - Davison, Graham, Jamie Lee Roberts and Coral Edgar unanimously. Carol Edgar and Paul Roberts were convicted on majority 10-2 verdicts.

Diamanté riding crop

The trial had heard Mr McKnight, who worked at Carlisle Premier Inn, owed a large debt to fellow dealer Davison.

After taking a taxi from his home in the early hours of 24 July, he went to the house in Charles Street where he was punched, kicked and stamped on during a two-hour attack in the living room and kitchen.

His assailants also used a diamanté-headed riding crop to whip him, the jury heard.

He suffered multiple injuries, including 36 head wounds, as well as injuries to his torso and legs "probably while secured or immobile in a chair".

Neighbours heard cries of pain and loud music from the address and saw "shadows" involved in an apparent attack.

One described the street as "horrible" and revealed such incidents at the house were almost "an everyday occurrence".

'Cared not one jot'

No ambulance or medical help was sought by occupants of the property, the trial heard.

Instead, gravely injured Mr McKnight was bundled into a Nissan Navara which was driven through Carlisle, down a track and across a livestock farmer's field to the River Caldew.

An unconscious Mr McKnight was then hoisted over barbed wire and dumped into water while still alive, the court heard.

His "broken" body was found, partially wrapped in a curtain, just before 05:00 by a farmer.

The Nissan was later found hidden deep in a local woodland.

Prosecutor Tim Cray QC said Davison had hatched the plan to coax his victim to the "safe house" and recruited the "muscle" of Graham and Jamie Lee Roberts, then aged just 17, to "respond to events as they developed".

Coral Edgar had lured Mr McKnight to Charles Street, while her mother, and fellow drug addict, provided the vehicle.

Paul Roberts took fresh clothing to Charles Street after receiving a call from his son Jamie Lee, while also tossing a phone into a drain after he left the address and burning other items.

Mr Cray said the defendants "cared not one jot Lee's life".

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