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Fifth person charged with murder of Lee McKnight appears at city’s crown court

Lee McKnight

A FIFTH person charged with murder following the death of Carlisle man Lee McKnight has appeared in front of a judge at the city’s crown court.

Police confirmed earlier this week that 25-year-old Arron Mark Graham had become the latest individual to be charged with the alleged killing as part of a large scale investigation mounted by detectives.

Graham, of Blackwell Road, Carlisle, faces a charge alleging the murder of 26-year-old Mr McKnight. So, too, do four other people – two men and a mother and daughter, all from Carlisle – who had appeared in front of a judge on Monday of this week.

Graham was present over a video link at Carlisle Crown Court for a preliminary hearing this morning (FRI) having appeared at the city magistrates’ court on Wednesday. Wearing a grey jumper, he spoke when prompted by the court clerk to confirm his name and date of birth, and to say he could hear the proceedings clearly.

His case was adjourned until October 12 when he and the four other murder accused are due to enter pleas to the charges they face. A jury trial, estimated to last five weeks, has already been provisionally listed and is due to start on May 10, 2021.

Graham, who was represented by lawyer Fraser Livesey, also faces a charge – brought as part of the same police probe – which alleges he made a threat to kill an unrelated male. He was remanded in custody until October 12 by Judge Robert Altham.

Police had cordoned off a vast area around a stretch of the river Caldew in the city after receiving a call, at 5-24am on Friday, 24th July, that Mr McKnight’s body had been found in the water in the Blackwell Hall area near Cummersdale.

T/Detective Superintendent David Stalker said this week: “I would like to remind members of the public that we have a team of detectives continuing their enquiries into Lee’s death. I would appeal to anyone who has not yet come forward with information they may have to do so. No matter how insignificant you may deem your information, we would like to hear from you.”

Anyone with any information can report it directly to the Durranhill incident room via the major incident public reporting site: https://mipp.police.uk/

Anyone with information can also contact police by calling 101 and ask to speak to an officer from the North Cumbria crime and safeguarding team, quoting incident number 36 of 24 July. Alternatively, people can contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

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