A drug-dealing middle man accused of murder received up to half a kilo of cocaine every fortnight, and was almost £10,000 short of the sum he owed suppliers hours before a deadly attack on Lee McKnight.
Jurors in the trial of six people who deny murdering Mr McKnight had an insight into the eye-watering figures of suspect Jamie Davison’s illegal occupation as he gave evidence for a fourth day at Carlisle Crown Court.
Davison confirmed, approaching a July 24 payment deadline, he owed just short of £10,000 to “upstream” crooks who sent him menacing messages demanding “paper” — “before it gets messy”.
He has admitted being a “middle man” who peddled cocaine, heroin and cannabis to dealers lower in the criminal chain, often paying between £18,000-£20,000 for up to half a kilo of cocaine every two weeks.
He would then collect cash from customers before paying off his suppliers, but was “overdue” in July 2020, having been remanded in custody for several days earlier that month.
Davison said dealer Mr McKnight owed him £2,000, and admitted the pair grappled and exchanged punches when the latter was lured to a Charles Street house having previously been lying low.
But Davison alleges teenager Jamie Lee Roberts then took violence to a “whole new level” with kicks and punches, leaving Mr McKnight semi-conscious and “starting to deteriorate”; and that his dad, Paul Roberts, transported Mr McKnight in a Nissan Navara to a river where his body was found.
“He didn’t express that he was in pain by making much noise,” Davison said of Mr McKnight, denying any role in the attack.
“But by looking at his eyes I would guess he was in pain.
”Mr McKnight “never screamed”, stated Davison. Asked if he heard the sound of a riding crop — said to have been used to beat Mr McKnight — “cutting through the air”, he replied: “No.”
Prosecutor Tim Cray QC asked during cross-examination: “You’re saying, aren’t you, that Paul Roberts has finished off what Jamie (Roberts) has started?”
Davison replied: “I’m saying that Paul Roberts drove the Navara when Lee McKnight was in it, from Charles Street.”
Mr Cray suggested: “Your case must be that Paul Roberts and whoever — if anyone — in that car are murderers, yes?”
Davison responded: “It would appear whoever put Lee McKnight in the river, yes.”
Asked whether he felt “at risk of physical violence” from upstream crooks, Davison replied: “Not personally.”
Mr Cray suggested to him: “It was you who had recruited the other five (defendants) who went along with this plan; that’s the truth, isn’t it?”
Davison replied: “No.”
The trial continues.