A TEENAGER has been formally told he is charged with the murder of Carlisle man Lee McKnight.

The 17-year-old is the sixth person to be charged with the killing.

At the city's Rickergate Magistrate's Court this morning, the youth appeared via a video link from the secure accommodation where he is being held.

The court clerk told the teenager he is charged with murdering Lee McKnight on July 24 this year.

After legal discussions about how the case will be managed, District Judge Gerald Chalk told the teenager, who spoke only to confirm his details and say that he understood, that his case will now be sent to Carlisle Crown Court for a preliminary hearing tomorrow.

The judge remanded the defendant in custody.

As he did this, District Judge Chalk told the defendant: "I am aware that this is the first time this matter has been put to you.

"The case can only be dealt with by the crown court and I formally send you to appear at the crown court sitting in Carlisle.

"Your first appearance is on Friday of this week."

In previous hearings, five other people have appeared in court charged with Mr McKnight's murder.

The discovery of his body in the River Caldew, near to Cummersdale, south of Carlisle, triggered a major murder investigation.

The other people charged with Mr McKnight's murder have all previously appeared in court.

They are Arron Graham, 25, of Blackwell Road, Currock; Jamie Andrew Davidson, 25, of Beverly Rise; Carol Edgar, 46, of Charles Street; Coral Breanne Edgar, 25, of Charles Street; and Paul Andrew Roberts, 50, of Grey Street, all Carlisle.

They are all due to appear at Carlisle Crown Court for a plea hearing on October 12.

A preliminary date for a trial has been set for May of next year.

Judge Chalk made an order preventing the identification of the youth due to this age.

A seventh person, a 40-year-old woman, has been charged with assisting an offender.