Former Chesterfield soldier and Sheffield United fan died after man smashed a bottle into his face seconds after they were ejected from club

A total of six bouncers were present when a former soldier from Chesterfield was hit in the face with a bottle and subsequently died, a court has heard.

Thursday, 21st January 2021, 10:15 am

Giving evidence in the second day of the trial of Connor Rose, Derbyshire Police detective DC Thomas O’Connor also described how a group of up to 13 men were ejected from Vibe nightclub, in Holywell Street, Chesterfield, in the early hours of Saturday, February 8 last year.

Seconds later, Rose smashed a bottle into the face of Joseph Robotham and knocking him to the ground.

In a day of video evidence during the second day of the murder trial at Derby Crown Court, on Thursday, January 20, footage played from inside the club and from the street outside, showed an altercation breaking out between a group of men who were then ejected from the premises.

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Joseph Robotham had spent four years in the army

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Within around eight seconds of being removed from the club, the 23-year-old, of Old Whittington, was attacked with the bottle, the court heard, where he then fell and struck his head on the floor, suffering “catastrophic injuries from which he never recovered”.

The Sheffield United fan died in hospital the following evening.

Yesterday, the jury heard how Connor Rose “ran at” and “lunged” at Mr Robotham, and that the force of the blow immediately rendered the 23-year-old unconscious and he fell to the ground cracking his head on the pavement.

Then, as Mr Robotham’s girlfriend rushed to his aid, Rose was heard to say “he deserved it”.

Rose, of no fixed address, has admitted manslaughter, but is being tried for Mr Robotham’s murder.

Opening the case yesterday, prosecutor Katherine Goddard QC told the jury: “He was holding the bottle in a way that the prosecution say is wholly inconsistent with what he later told the police.

“He knew he had the bottle in his hand and you have to decide what his intention was when he struck him with it.

“The prosecution say he changed his grip from a defensive one to an aggressive one, which proves what his intention was when he struck Joe.

She told the jury that Mr Robotham and his partner, Chelsea Neale, had been out celebrating after he had been given the good news that he did not have cancer, following a scare.

They initially went out separately, but met up at the Vibe Bar.

She said while in the club Mr Robotham got into an argument with a friend of Rose’s and they were both ejected through the fire door by the doormen.

“The confrontation continued on the pavement outside where they squared up to each other, but no punches were thrown.

“CCTV clearly shows Mr Rose make his way out of the nightclub and is seen moving a beer bottle from one hand to the other.

“Joseph Robotham, known as Joe, had been a soldier who had served his country well, but left and was at the time living a life in Civvy Street with his girlfriend.

“They were living together, but their life plans were ended in the early hours of Saturday, February 8.

The trial is set to continue tomorrow, when Miss Neale is expected to give evidence.

Rose denies murder.

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