THE father accused along with his son of murdering Lee McKnight said he believed he would be taken to hospital.

Paul Roberts, 51, who has admitted taking a change of clothes for his son to the Charles Street property where Mr McKnight, 26, was attacked, was today cross-examined at Carlisle Crown Court about his account of what happened on the day Mr McKnight died.

Roberts told the jury that when he took a call from his son Jamie Lee Roberts, 18, in the early hours of July 24 last year the teenager was crying and asking for help.

He had assumed Jamie Lee had been involved in a burglary as part of an attempt to settle the debt he owed to fellow accused Jamie Davison, 26, he said.

"He said he needed help," said Roberts senior as he described his son's phone call that morning 

"He said he needed me to get him out of that house...He was in trouble and he was with Jamie Davison and he was crying and he wanted me to get him out of that house."

Roberts senior and his son, along with Davison, Arron Graham, 26, Coral Edgar, 26, and her mother Carol Edgar, 47, all deny murder.

The prosecution say Mr McKnight was "lured" to Charles Street with Coral Edgar's help because he owed a drugs debt to Davison. Once there, says the prosecution, Mr McKnight was subjected to a severe beating by Davison, Graham, and Jamie Lee Roberts.

Then, while gravely injured but still breathing, he was put into a Nissan Navara jeep belonging to Coral's mother Carol, 47, and driven to farmland south of Carlisle and "dumped" in the River Caldew.

For much of this morning, Roberts senior was cross-examined by Richard Pratt QC, for Davison.

The QC suggested that Roberts senior, upon arriving at Charles Street with a change of clothes, took it upon himself to "deactivate" Mr McKnight's mobile phone.

Roberts denied doing that.

"You were under no illusion," said the QC, "that your son had been principally involved in attacking Lee McKnight."

Roberts senior said: "I think that's ridiculous."

"That's why you involved yourself in the way you did," said the QC. "I went there to get my son out of that house," said Roberts.

Mr Pratt said: "You would do anything at all to save him from trouble - serious trouble." "No, sir," replied Roberts.

Mr Pratt said it was Jamie Davison and Arron Graham who raised concerns about Lee McKnight's health that morning and wanted him to go to hospital.

"You couldn't be further away from the truth, sir," retorted Roberts.

The QC suggested it was in fact Roberts senior and his son Jamie Lee who took Lee McKnight out of Charles Street and put him into the Nissan Navara jeep.

"No, sir," said Roberts. "I'd have helped if they'd asked me."

Mr Pratt said it was Roberts senior who drove Mr McKnight to the river and dumped him, prompting this from the defendant: "I have never been in that car - not ever."

In later evidence, Roberts described leaving Charles Street after dropping off the spare clothes and then throwing a mobile phone down a drain, assuming it belonged to his son.

He then realised, he said, that he had not got his house key and so went back to Charles Street. While there, he saw Jamie Davison in the kitchen and Lee McKnight lying on the floor, with a towel placed behind his bloodstained head.

He knelt down to look at him. Roberts said he checked Mr McKnight's pulse - both at his wrist, his thigh and his neck.

Fiona Horlick QC asked him: "You did some CPR? [cardiopulmonary resuscitation]" "Yes, mam," said Roberts.

He accepted he had no idea what involvement his son may have had.

Questioned about what help he gave to Mr McKnight, Roberts said he did chest compressions for about five minutes.

"And then your heard him breathing a bit, slowly?" asked the QC.

"Yes," replied Roberts.

The defendant said he believed Jamie Davison had taken cocaine.

Arron Graham, he said, had appeared in the house behind him. He said he had seen Graham and Jamie Davison carry Mr McKnight out of the house. He believed Mr McKnight would then be taken to hospital, he said.

"I didn't see what other choice they had," he said. Roberts said Davison had not supported getting Mr McKnight medical help.

"He was being threatening - it wasn't going to happen, an ambulance."

Asked why he did not stand up to Davison, Roberts said: "I'm the dad of his punter; that's all I am to him, Jamie Davison and the people above him.

"That's what you worry about."

Ms Horlick said: "Arron Graham wasn't in that house that night, was he?"

Roberts replied: "He was, mam."

During his first visit to Charles Street that morning, he said he understood that Mr McKnight was going to be taken to hospital. "At that point, it wasn't as dire as it appeared to be the second time," he said, referring to his later return to the house. He accepted it would have been in his son's interests to ensure Mr McKnight was taken in the Nissan to hospital and he should have gone in the vehicle to ensure that happened.

"That's what I should have done, yes," said Roberts.

All six defendants deny murder.

They are Jamie Davison, of Beverley Rise; Arron Graham, 26, of Blackwell Road; Jamie Lee Roberts, 18, of Grey Street; Coral Edgar, 26, of Charles Street; her mother Carol Edgar, 47, of Charles Street; and Paul Roberts, 51, also of Grey Street, Carlisle.