A model who lured a man to her house with loot texts before being tortured for two hours and then thrown into a river to drown has been sentenced to life in prison along with five others.
Coral Edgar, 26, ‘lured’ Lee McKnight, 26, to her Carlisle home with the promise of sex before being subjected to a horrific two-hour assault, a court heard.
McKnight, who sold cannabis and cocaine, owed Jamie Davison, the “middleman,” £2,000 in drug debt in an alleged £500,000-a-year operation, the Carlisle Crown Court heard.
It is believed Jamie Davison, 26, persuaded Edgar to send the messages to McKnight so that he could “become an example of.”
Model Coral Edgar, 26, was forced to ‘lure’ her ex-boyfriend with sexual messages before helping a group of five others beat, whip, drown and murder Lee McKnight, 26.
Lee McKnight, 26, (above) was tied to a chair and looked like a ‘torture victim’ after being beaten for two hours and then thrown into a river to drown
She invited him to her home on July 24 last year around 2 a.m., where he was tied to a chair and beaten so viciously that he was left “on the brink of death.”
Davison had organized the violence and recruited Arron Graham, 26, and Jamie Lee Roberts, 18, as “extra muscle.”
After the beating, the group took Lee to a river in southern Carlisle.
Jamie Davison, 26, (above) was the ‘middleman’ for McKnight in a £500,000-a-year operation that sold cannabis and cocaine. McKnight was Davison apparently £2k. guilty
Lee was alive when he was thrown into a river where he was unable to help himself and drowned before a farmer found his body a few hours later.
A pathologist who examined his body said his injuries — including 36 separate head wounds, a fractured skull and several broken ribs — made him look like a “victim of torture.”
He was beaten, kicked, stomped, beaten and beaten with a riding crop by Coral’s mother Carol, 47, which she bought at a sex shop.
Jamie Lee Roberts, 18, (above) and Aaron Graham, 26, were the last recruited for the murder and hired as ‘extra muscle’
The judge said he is “absolutely certain” that Roberts and Graham (above) drowned McKnight in a river in southern Carlisle while he was alive
Paul Roberts, 51, admitted to helping his son Jamie Lee Roberts, bringing him new clothes after the attack and destroying bloodstained clothes.
He claimed he was trying to help Lee when he saw how badly injured he was.
During the trial, all six defendants blamed each other for Lee’s death.
All six suspects denied murder, but were convicted after a few weeks’ trial and today received a total of 119.5 years in prison.
The Honorable Justice Hilliard said Davison and Graham both knew Lee was alive and that they both chose to deliberately drown him.
The judge said: “I’m sure Davison and Graham put him in the river. They drowned him. On purpose.
“This, in my view, was murder for gain and a murder intended to obstruct justice.”
Carol Edgar, 47, allowed the group to use her Nissan Navara to take McKnight to the river, but claims she was never physically involved in the attack
Paul Roberts, 51, claims he was only involved in the murder to help his son, Jamie Lee Roberts. He admitted that he brought his son clean clothes and burned the bloodstained clothes
The judge sentenced them all to life imprisonment for their involvement in McKnight’s murder.
Coral Edgar, 26, of Carlisle, was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 13-and-a-half years.
Carol Edgar, 47, of Carlisle, was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 13 years.
Jamie Davison, 26, from Harraby, was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 30 years.
Arron Graham, 26, of Currock, was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 26 years.
Jamie Lee Roberts, 18, of Carlisle, was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 16-and-a-half years.
Paul Roberts, 51, of Carlisle, was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 20-and-a-half years.
Carlisle Crown Court has heard a heartbreaking statement from Lee’s mother Wendy McKnight.
She said, “You don’t expect your son to be killed and taken away so soon without even getting a chance to say goodbye.
“We try to live our lives as normal as possible, but our hearts are broken under the skin. He was loved by so many and we were proud to call him our son.
“This has pushed our family to its limits.
“He was always polite and courteous and always had time for a chat. He was attentive and never missed special occasions – Father’s and Mother’s Day, birthdays and Christmas.”
Wendy told the court she was constantly haunted by thoughts of what he was going through while in the “torture chamber” where he was “beaten relentlessly” to within an inch of his life.
The statement continued: “It was hard to believe that Lee will never walk through our front door again and that there will always be a free seat at our table – we will miss his smiling face and infectious laugh.
“Every family has lost a loved one for different reasons, but this is very different and we will miss Lee dearly
“No punishment will bring our son back, but will give us peace that those responsible for his death have been brought to justice.”
The youngest of the ‘recruits’ was Jamie Lee Roberts, 18, according to his QC.
The court heard Jamie Lee Roberts would be rewarded for helping with the violence by having his drug debt wiped out.
Jamie Davison smiled while watching the hearing via video link when Richard Littler, QC, told the court that Roberts junior had been recruited as “extra muscle.”
Mr Litter said: “We assume this was a young lad [Jamie Lee Roberts] which was far, far, out of its depths. This is a young man who needs help.”
Coral Edgar’s representative Caroline Goodwin QC said the defendant was at the heart of a “perfect storm” of circumstances, leaving her vulnerable to manipulation.
She had recognized mental health issues, a worsening drug addiction and the imminent threat of deportation.
Ms Goodwin said: “She was not responsible for the use of the force and she had no control over the extent of the force that would be used.
“She was in a state of shock herself at what she was involved in.”
Toby Hedworth QC, the defense of Carol Edgar, 47, said she was not physically involved in the attack on Lee McKnight.
The prosecution says she had her Nissan Navara used after the brutal attack to pick up Lee and transport him to the river where he was dumped.
Gordon Cole QC, who represents the oldest of the Lee McKnight killers, Paul Roberts, said he only got involved because he was trying to help his son Jamie Lee Roberts.
Mr Cole said: “He had no part in the planning and there was no financial gain for him.”