Lee McKnight: Judge starts summing up evidence in murder trial

Credit: ITV Border/Cumbria Police

A judge has told jurors they “must put emotion to one side” when considering verdicts in the trial of six people accused of murdering Carlisle man Lee McKnight.

At the city’s crown court this morning, Mr Justice Hilliard began summing up evidence which has been heard during the past six weeks.

Four men - Jamie Davison, Arron Graham, both aged 26; 18-year-old Jamie Lee Roberts and his father, Paul, 51 - along with mother and daughter Carol and Coral Edgar all deny murdering Mr McKnight.

His body was found in the River Caldew just before 5.30am on 24th July last year. He was beaten “to the point of death” at an address in Charles Street, the court has heard, transported away in a Nissan Navara and was still alive when “dumped” in the water.

Jurors have heard all evidence in the case, and also closing speeches from barristers representing the prosecution and each of the six defendants.

“At the heart of the case is the fact that Lee McKnight lost his life, but you must put emotion to one side. You don’t decide the case on sympathy or disapproval,” Mr Justice Hilliard said to jurors, “and you are not concerned with the consequence in any direction of any particular verdict.

“What’s required of you is a cool, calm, careful and impartial examination of the evidence in the case.”

Of his summing up, the judge also said: “If I miss out some part of the evidence which you think is important then you should have regard to it. If I mention something which, after considering it, you don’t think is important, you should put that to one side.

“All of that is just to underline it is your view of the evidence which is the one that counts.

“The prosecution bring the case against the defendants. It is for the prosecution to prove guilt so that you are sure of it.”

Jurors have heard they will also consider alternative lesser charges in the case.

All six defendants also face charges alleging manslaughter and assisting an offender, the latter arising out of acts which are said to have occurred in the aftermath of violence at Charles Street.

In addition, all defendants apart from Paul Roberts face charges alleging grievous bodily harm with intent, and actual bodily harm assault.