The only evidence against Arron Graham has come from some of the other defendants who are also charged with the murder of Lee McKnight, a jury said.
At Carlisle Crown Court, Fiona Horlick QC gave her closing speech for Graham, 26, who, along with the five other defendants, denies murdering Mr McKnight on the morning of July 24 last year.
The prosecution said Graham was one of two men recruited by another accused Jamie Davison to help “enforce” a drug debt Mr McKnight owed the latter.
Along with Davison and Jamie Lee Roberts, 18, Graham is accused of beating Mr McKnight ‘to the point of death’ after he was allegedly lured onto Charles Street in Carlisle by Coral Edgar, 26. His mother Carol, 47, is accused of supplying a Nissan Navara used to transport Mr McKnight – seriously injured but still breathing – to a river south of Carlisle where he was “dumped”.
Jamie Lee Roberts’ father Paul Roberts, 51, is said to have helped by getting rid of bloodstained clothes. Speaking to the jury, Ms Horlick said Graham’s defense was straightforward compared to that of her co-accused. “He was not in Charles Street at the time of the facts,” she said. “He’s not trying to blame someone else; he doesn’t try to trade tusks with anyone.
Graham was not a Class A drug user or dealer, the QC said, describing the accused as a “rather clumsy and unsophisticated” young man. “He’s tall yes, but barely muscular and he doesn’t have an aggressive demeanor,” she said. “Yes he would smoke cannabis and yes it is illegal but frankly it is widely used in this country and legal in many countries around the world.
“He liked to have fun and drink rose gin … but none of those things are illegal.”
“It had nothing to do with the execution of Jamie Davison’s drug debt. There is no proof that he is an executor. He owed nothing to anyone and had no obligation. He’s a slightly gangly, slightly immature young man.
Ms Horlick said there was no evidence that placed Graham in the Charles Street house where Mr McKnight was attacked – no CCTV footage, no cell phone evidence; and no evidence to place it at the river where Mr McKnight was left, QC said.
Ms Horlick continued: “The only proof [against Graham] comes from people in the dock, accused of murder themselves, who have their own best interests exposed. This is the evidence you need, not the theories or speculations.
Ms Horlick said there was also no CCTV evidence linking Graham to the abandoned Nissan Navara at Wreay after Mr McKnight was ‘dumped’ into the Caldew River in early July 24.
She compared Graham’s physical condition after his arrest to that of Jamie Davison, who she said was covered in cuts and scrapes.
“If Arron Graham had been with Jamie Davison, as the prosecution claims,” she said, “he would have been cut to shreds as they would have been together, taking the same route, over the same obstacles, including barbed wire.
It would have been impossible for the injuries he allegedly sustained, similar to those suffered by Jamie Davison, to disappear without a trace upon his arrest, Ms Horlick said.
The six accused are Graham, of Blackwell Road, Currock; Davison, of Beverley Rise, Harraby; Jamie Lee Roberts, 18, of Gray Street, Carlisle; her father Paul Roberts, also of Gray Street, and Coral Edgar, 26, and her mother Carol, 47, both of Charles Street.
The jury will continue to hear the accused’s speeches before the judge in the case, the Honorable Mr. Justice Hilliard summarizes the evidence.