Homeless Chesterfield man killed former soldier and Sheffield United fan with single bottle blow, murder trial is told

The trial is continuing today in the case of a Chesterfield man accused of murdering a former soldier who had just been given the all-clear from cancer.

Wednesday, 20th January 2021, 12:24 pm

Joseph Robotham died after being struck in the face with a bottle on a night out celebrating being given the all-clear from a cancer scare.

The jury is today (Wednesday, March 20) being shown CCTV footage from the attack, which took place outside Vibe nightclub, in Holywell Street, Chesterfield, in the early hours of Saturday, February 8 last year.

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.

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Joseph Robotham died following an attack outside Chesterfield's Vibe nightclub in February

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

Rose, of no fixed address, is on trial for the murder of the victim.

He has already pleaded guilty to manslaughter, but denies the more serious charge.

Prosecutor Katherine Goddard QC, opening the trial, 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.”

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Miss Goddard said after being hit, falling and striking his head on the floor, Mr Robotham, of Old Whittington, suffered “catastrophic injuries from which he never recovered”.

The Sheffield United fan died in hospital the following evening.

Opening the case she said: “Joseph Robotham, known as Joe, had been a solider 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.

“On that Friday he and his girlfriend got the good news for an issue that had been hanging over them and was causing some distress.

“There had been a suspicion he might have cancer, but on that Friday morning he received a phone call giving him the all clear.”

Miss Goddard told the court that the couple had decided to go out the following evening in Chesterfield to celebrate the news.

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.

Miss Goddard said: “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.”

Miss Goddard said the defendant was later identified and in his first interview denied having anything in his hand.

The trial continues.

Editor’s message: In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.