Cumbria Crack

Two more deny alleged murder of Carlisle man Lee McKnight

Lee McKnight

Two more people have pleaded not guilty to the alleged murder of a man whose body was found in a river in Carlisle.

A total of seven people have been charged as part of a large scale probe by detectives into the death of 26-year-old Lee McKnight.

Mr McKnight’s body was found in the River Caldew in the Blackwell Hall area near Cummersdale by police who had received a call just before 5-30am on 24th July last year.

At Carlisle Crown Court last week, two women, a man and an 18-year-old male all pleaded not guilty to a charge which alleges the murder of Mr McKnight.

Another woman denied a separate charge which alleges the assisting of an offender.

Two other defendants, Arron Mark Graham, aged 25, of Blackwell Road, and 51-year-old Paul Roberts, of Grey Street, both Carlisle, were unable to attend that hearing due to Covid restrictions in custody where the are on remand.

But both Graham and Roberts did appear at the crown court this morning.

During a hearing lasting almost 15 minutes, they also pleaded not guilty to the alleged murder of Mr McKnight on 24th July, 2020, when the charge was read to them by a clerk.

Both defendants, their respective barristers, a prosecutor and Judge Simon Medland QC attended court over separate video links.

Graham and Roberts were reminded of the requirement to co-operate with their legal teams and serve a statement setting out their defence to the charge they deny, and the issues they take with the prosecution case.

They, along with the five other defendants, are due stand trial in front of a jury and a High Court judge.

This is due to start at Carlisle Crown Court on May 10 and, it is estimated, will last several weeks.

In the meantime, Graham and Roberts were remanded in custody by Judge Medland.