Teen burned bloody clothes but tells trial he wasn't involved in McKnight's death

Lee McKnight
Lee McKnight Credit: Family photo

A teenager accused of murdering Lee McKnight told police he took three changes of clothes to the house where the 26-year-old was savagely attacked — but insisted he had nothing to do with his death.

Jamie Lee Roberts, one of six people who deny murder, was aged just 17 when Mr McKnight was brutally beaten at a house in Charles Street, Carlisle, before being transported to a river where a farmer found his body just after 5am on 24th July last year.

When initially quizzed by police Roberts, now 18, said he had been nowhere near the Charles Street address during the early hours of that morning.

But, midway, through his final interview with a detectives, the teen told how he “blanked” three calls from the phone of a house occupant, Carol Edgar, before receiving a call from another murder suspect, Jamie Davison. “He was saying ‘summet (sic) bad’s gone down’,” said Roberts, who spoke of owing him money. “Not thousands. Couple of hundred,” he explained. Of the clothing request, the teenager told police: “He said ‘I’ve just had a bit of trouble, mush, and I need it. Could do with it being fast’.”

Roberts said he and his dad gathered together three pairs of clothes in a large Army rucksack. His father had turned CCTV off at their home building and then went to Charles Street, where there was an exchange. “They gave me a bag when I got there,” he said.

Asked what was inside the bag, he replied: “Just minging clothes that had blood on them. I just burned them.” The teen said he did so at a location known as Botch Field, using a deodorant can to assist with ignition, and hadn’t got the clothing out.

Asked whether he was frightened by the blood, he responded: “I thought ‘this is dodgy’. This is why I just tried, just did that and I got away, so now I don’t owe him any money.”

At the Charles Street address, the television was on “full blast” with music on, said Roberts. He saw Carol Edgar and also her daughter, Coral, who was “in hysterics” and “crying her eyes out”; and also Davison who, he said, was wearing only a “pair of boxers”.

When it was suggested he may have helped in the beating of Mr McKnight, Roberts responded: “You’re just thinking fantasies.” He had also maintained: “I wasn’t in the house.”

One detective suggested: “You murdered Lee McKnight.”

Roberts replied: “No I didn’t. Whoever drowned him murder him. But I wasn’t even there.”  He spoke of going to see Arron Graham — who he insisted hadn’t been at Charles Street — before going back to his own fiat. 

Earlier an ex-girlfriend of the teen gave evidence. In a statement she told how Roberts had rang her, “crying”, from Armathwaite in late July. Of the conversation she stated: “He said to me it was just one person who got out of hand. They’re a real psychopath.”

Prosecutor Tim Evans asked the female as she gave evidence about that chat: “Who did you think Jamie Lee Roberts was talking about, using that word?”

She replied: “Jamie Davison.”

Jamie Lee Roberts, along with his father Paul, 51; Jamie Davison, 26; Coral Edgar, 26; Carol Edgar, 48; and Arron Graham, also 26; all deny murder. The trial continues.