Killing of former Chesterfield soldier and Sheffield United fan was an 'act of revenge', murder trial is told
A barrister has told a jury that the attack which led to the death of a former Chesterfield soldier was an “act of revenge”, and that the attacker “has meant to cause him really serious harm at the very least”.
Katherine Goddard QC, who is prosecuting Connor Rose for the murder of Joseph Robotham, at Derby Crown Court, said that Rose, 25, had used a beer bottle as a weapon in the assault, which happened outside Chesterfield’s Vibe Bar, in Holywell Street, in the early hours of Saturday, February 8.
Mr Robotham, 24, was “knocked out cold” from the blow and died the following day from brain injuries, after falling to the floor and fracturing his skull.
The trial has previously heard that Rose had attacked Mr Robotham, of Sheffield Road, Old Whittington, after he got into a fight with a friend of the defendant’s inside the club shortly before 4am, and both had been ejected by door staff.
During that altercation, Rose had been pushed to the floor by Mr Robotham, the court heard.
Making her closing speech to the jury on Monday, February 1, she said: “It was an act of revenge, an act of getting his own back after being pushed to the floor. Mr Robotham could not have seen it coming.
"He never took his eyes off Joseph Robotham. He was determined to pay Joseph Robotham back for that push."
Referring to CCTV footage played to the jurors, she said that Rose had skirted around the edge of the club in a bid to conceal the bottle he was holding, and switched it into his “dominant hand” before striking the blow.
She also told the jury about evidence given by Mr Robotham’s girlfriend Chelsea Neale had earlier given evidence saying Rose had said, “He f****** deserved that” following the attack.
Defending Rose, Leon Kazakos QC said that Rose thought the fight had spilled out into the street and he had gone to defend his friend, identified in court as Adrian Strafford.
Mr Kazakos also referred back to evidence given by Home Office Pathologist Dr Stuart Hamilton, who earlier told the court that Mr Robotham had died as a result of falling to the ground, and not because of the blow delivered by Rose.
“Nobody intends to kill with a single blow,” he said. "Even if Mr Rose didn't think that Mr Strafford was under attack outside, that still doesn't mean an intention to kill or cause serious harm to Mr Robotham."
Both sides also referred to a series of texts and social media messages recovered from Rose’ phone, some of which made light of what had happened.
The prosecution said it was evidence that Rose had shown little remorse following the incident, the defence that he was unaware of the seriousness of Mr Robotham’s condition when they were made.
Judge Shaun Smith QC told the jury that in cases such as this, emotions run high, and they must make their decision based on the evidence they have heard, and nothing else.
He told them that they must be sure that Rose intended to kill or cause really serious harm to return a verdict of guilty to murder. If not it would be manslaughter, which Rose had already admitted.
Rose denies murder. The case continues.