Potential jurors in a Carlisle murder trial have been told that the case could last for up to eight weeks.

Six people from the city are to go on trial at the city’s crown court charged with murdering 26-year-old Lee McKnight.

The defendants are all jointly accused with murdering Mr McKnight on July 24 last year. All have pleaded not guilty.

At the crown court yesterday, the process of selecting the jurors who will decide the facts of the case got underway.

Mr Justice Nicholas Hilliard addressed the panel of potential jurors, telling them: “At the heart of the case is an allegation of murder - so you will appreciate that it’s important from everyone’s point of view.”

The judge said potential jurors will have arrived expecting to serve for 10 days or so.

“This trial will take a lot longer than that,” he warned, explaining that it is never possible to provide a precise estimate for any case.

Considering current estimates for the “outside limit” for the case, said the judge, the jurors will have to be available until Friday, July 9.

All jury service involved an element of public spiritedness, said the judge, and nothing less than “real hardship” or some other compelling reason was acceptable if it was to be avoided.

The judge also warned the potential jurors to not search online for information about the case; their decisions must be based purely on the evidence they see and hear in court.

Accused of murder are: Jamie Andrew Davison, 26, of Beverley Rise, Harraby; Paul Roberts, 51, of Grey Street; mother and daughter Carol Edgar, 46, and 26-year-old Coral Edgar, both of Charles Street; Arron Mark Graham, 25, of Blackwell Road; and Jamie Lee Roberts, 18, of Grey Street. A seventh defendant, 40-year-old Janice Edgar, of Charles Street, Carlisle, denies assisting an offender.