TWO men who are charged with murdering Carlisle man Ryan Kirkpatrick have formally entered not guilty to the allegation.

During a half-hour hearing at the city’s crown court today, Kane Hull, 29, and 32-year-old Liam Craig Porter appeared sitting side by side in a prison video booth as they were invited by the clerk to enter their pleas.

Mr Kirkpatrick died on the evening of Saturday, September 18 last year.

The first charge put to Hull was that, on that day, he murdered Mr Kirkpatrick, to which the defendant replied: “Not guilty.” The clerk then put a second charge of manslaughter - that he unlawfully killed Mr Kirkpatrick.

Again, the defendant replied “Not guilty.”

The court clerk then put two identical charges to Porter, who also replied not guilty when asked for his plea to both allegations.

Porter was also asked to enter a plea to a third charge of unlawfully assisting an offender: that on September 18 last year,  without reasonable excuse or lawful authority, he unlawfully assisted Kane Hull by helping him to leave the country in order to impede his apprehension and prosecution.

Porter also denied that allegation.

Lawyers who are involved in the case – including prosecutor Tim Evans – discussed setting a timetable for various stages in the preparing for the trial, which will be conducted before a High Court judge.

Judge Simon Medland QC, presiding over the hearing via video link from Preston, approved a proposal to begin the trial on Wednesday, October 5, with a time estimate of three to four weeks.

Other defendants may be added to the case over allegations of assisting an offender, the court heard. Before the trial begins, there will be a pre-trial review, to take place on Wednesday, September 7, said the judge.

Both defendants will attend that hearing via a video link. The venue for the trial is yet to be confirmed.

Police were called to Carlyle’s Court, off Fisher Street in Carlisle, shortly before 9pm on September 18 last year amid reports that a man had been stabbed.

Mr Kirkpatrick, 24, was pronounced dead at the scene, despite the efforts of police and paramedics to save him. Judge Medland remanded both defendants in custody until their next scheduled court appearance.