A defendant has insisted to a jury he didn’t threaten a man that he would chop his head off with a machete and put him in a river like he did with Lee McKnight.
Arron Graham, 26, has been giving evidence today at Carlisle Crown Court.
Graham and five other people deny murdering Mr McKnight, whose body was found in a city river after he was badly beaten in the early hours of July 24.
One fellow suspect, Jamie Davison, says Graham was present at a Charles Street address as the attack occurred, and that the pair later disposed of a Nissan Navara in which Mr McKnight had been taken to the water. The jury has heard other defendants also allege that Graham was at the house.
But during cross-examination this afternoon, Graham stated: “I wasn’t there.”
He told jurors he couldn’t remember what time he got home on the early morning of July 24, having previously been, he said, at the address of a woman with whom he was in a sexual relationship.
When Gordon Cole QC, for another defendant, Paul Roberts, suggested “you must have racked your brains” to remember the time, Graham replied: “I’ve tried. I was very drunk that night. I wouldn’t like to guess.”
Earlier, Graham told how he was camping with another suspect — Jamie Lee Roberts, son of Paul — in Armathwaite a week after the deadly attack on Mr McKnight.
While in the village, Graham said he was handed a phone by Roberts junior and spoke in a Snapchat call with a friend of Mr McKnight.
“He said he thought we had something to do with Lee,” recalled Graham.
His barrister, Fiona Horlick QC, asked: “Did you realise then that he was connected to Lee?”
Graham said: “I knew he had something to do with him, otherwise he wouldn’t be asking. When I said ‘what are you looking for us for?’, he said he was going to come down with a van full of lads.
“I replied where I was, and said ‘I will be waiting on the bridge for you’.”
Ms Horlick said: “He (the man) alleges that you said something about you going to cut off his head with a machete and throw him in the river.”
The man has said in evidence earlier in the trial that Graham vowed to do that “like he did with Lee McKnight”.
But Graham responded: “No, definitely not. No.”
As his evidence in chief concluded, Ms Horlick asked: “Just to wrap this up, did you have anything to do with the death of Lee McKnight.” Graham replied: “No.”
Richard Littler QC, for Jamie Lee Roberts, suggested to Graham you were at Charles Street and you were in that car (Navara).
Both times, Graham replied: “No.”
The trial continues.