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Five appear in court after body found in city river sparks probe into “brutal murder”

Lee McKnight

FOUR people – including a mother and daughter – have appeared in court accused of involvement in the alleged “brutal murder” of a man whose body was found in a river in Carlisle.

Jamie Andrew Davison, 25, Carol Diane Edgar, 46, Coral Edgar, 25, and 50-year-old Paul Roberts each face one charge which alleges the murder of Lee McKnight on July 24.

Cumbria police launched a large scale investigation and cordoned off a vast area around a stretch of the river Caldew after receiving a call, at 5-24am on Friday, that 26-year-old Mr McKnight’s body had been found in the water in the Blackwell Hall area near Cummersdale.

Detectives had also appealed for the public’s help to trace a distinctive black Nissan Navara, which was recovered in the Wreay area, south of Carlisle, yesterday.

Davison, of Beverley Rise, Carlisle; mother and daughter Carol Edgar and Coral Edgar, both of Charles Street, Carlisle; and Roberts, of Grey Street, Carlisle; all appeared before a District Judge at the city’s magistrates’ court this morning (WED).

So, too, did a fifth person, 40-year-old Janice Edgar, of Dale End Road, Carlisle, who faces three charges: one of assisting an offender which alleges she “assisted with the disposal of a body” on July 24; and two unrelated counts alleging possession of class A heroin and class C substances diazepam and pregabalin with intent to supply.

All five defendants made brief – and separate – appearances in the dock accompanied by a security guard. Each spoke to confirm their respective names, addresses and dates of birth. Giving limited details about the investigation which he said was still in its early stages, prosecutor John Moran alleged it related to “what is described as a brutal murder”.

No pleas were entered to any of the charges.

They are now due to appear in front of a judge at Carlisle Crown Court on Friday this week, and were remanded in custody until then.

Residents, meanwhile, were left stunned as news of the murder probe got under way.

“I’m totally shocked,” said one man, aged 68, who lives close to the area cordoned off by police late last week. “A lot of children play in that area, and a lot of people go swimming and take their dogs down there.

“It is really popular and there were double the amount of people during lockdown. I’m stunned. It’s absolutely shocking. I’ve never known anything like this happen before.”

A Cumbria police spokesman said last night: “The investigation team continue to urge anyone who has seen Lee in the early hours of 24th July to make contact with the incident room via 101. The team are also interested in the movements of the black Nissan Navara, and any suspicious activity around Wreay area.”

*A sixth person arrested as part of the probe, a 47-year-old woman from Carlisle, has been released on bail.

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