Man accused of killing former Chesterfield soldier and Sheffield United fan tells court 'I can't believe my actions led to someone else losing their life'
The man accused of murdering a former soldier from Chesterfield told a jury he thought he would get back up again after he punched him with a bottle outside a nightclub in the town.
Joseph Robotham, died following the incident outside Vibe Bar, in Holywell Street, in the early hours of Saturday, February 8 last year.
He was knocked out cold by the blow, delivered by Connor Rose, 25, and fell to the floor, banging his head on the ground and fracturing his skull. He suffered severe brain injuries and died in hospital in Sheffield the following day.
Giving evidence in his own defence at Derby Crown Court on Friday, January 29, Rose told the court that his registered address was his father’s home in Baden Powell Road, Chesterfield, but he was also intermittently staying at his former partner’s home in Dronfield, and an unspecified address in Sheffield, where he worked in a factory.
He told the jury that he had started drinking after work, first in the Chantrey Arms, Woodseats, and then at a nearby Wetherspoons. He then went on to Dronfield with some of the group, first to the Victoria, where he became separated from the others.
He then went to the Green Dragon, Dronfield, where he met another friend, identified in court as Adrian Strafford, also known as Spraps, and they headed to Chesterfield by taxi, along with a man and a woman who he didn’t know.
He told the court that he’d consumed around 10 pints and a couple of bottles of lager before entering Vibe.
He described the fight breaking out inside the club between Mr Robotham and Mr Strafford, and said that he had gotten involved because he feared for his friend’s safety.
He told the jury: “There was a lot of shouting and it seemed quite aggressive. It was mostly male voices and I just remember hitting him. It was split seconds.
“I thought that the fight would carry on outside and I didn’t want Adrian to get his head kicked in.
“I’m pretty sure that I hit him with my fist, but after that I heard a smash and I saw him go to the ground. I remember walking off and I turned around and saw someone chasing me.
“I shouted Straps a couple of times, I thought we were outnumbered by Mr Robotham’s friends. I thought he would just get back up. It wasn’t what I expected.
Speaking about his police interviews, and asked why he didn’t tell the truth immediately, he said: “I didn’t understand how me hitting him had led to him fighting for his life. I have no memory of having that bottle in my hand, but I accept that I did.
And when he was asked how he felt when he was told Mr Robotham had died, he said: “I broke down. I couldn’t believe that my actions had led to someone else losing their life.”
Rose described how he had fled from the men who were chasing him, and later hid in a garden when they followed him in a car.
He told the court that he had then called his father, who had given him a lift back to Dronfield.
Rose has admitted manslaughter but denies murder.
The trial continues.