Man accused of killing former Chesterfield soldier and Sheffield United fan tells court: 'I never meant any of this to happen'

The man on trial for the murder of a former Chesterfield soldier told police he “never meant for any of this to happen,” a court heard.

Friday, 29th January 2021, 11:22 am

Following the incident outside the Vibe Bar in the early hours of Saturday, February 8 last year, Connor Rose was arrested and interviewed by police on four occasions between February 9 and 10.

Derby Crown Court had previously heard how Rose had hit Joseph Robotham in the face with a bottle, following an altercation inside the Holywell Street venue, shortly before 4am, before fleeing the scene.

The 23-year-old, of Sheffield Road, Old Whittington, had been ejected from the club after getting into a fight with another man and had been standing on the pavement when Rose “knocked him out cold”.

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Joseph Robotham died when he was hit in the face with a bottle outside Chesterfield's Vibe Bar

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He fell to the floor and banged his head on the ground, fracturing his skull and causing brain injuries. He died in hospital the next day.

Giving evidence on Thursday, January 28, the jury heard transcripts of the four interviews, read out by a police officer and prosecution barrister Dawn Pritchard.

In the first interview, Rose denied any involvement and said he thought he was being chased because of his association with the other man involved in the initial altercation, identified in court as Adrian Strafford, also known as Straps.

In the second interview, which took place later on February 9, Rose was played CCTV footage of the incident, and admitted punching Mr Robotham, but denied having a bottle in his hand at the time, telling officers he “thought he was holding a packet of fags”.

By the time Rose, of no fixed address, was interviewed on February 10, Mr Robotham had died and he was told that he was being arrested on suspicion of murder.

He agreed with the investigating officer that it looked like he was holding a bottle in the CCTV footage, at the time he struck Mr Robotham, but he was drunk at the time and had little recollection of going into the club.

He told police that, on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being paraletic, he was “seven to seven-and-a-half”.

He said that he had started drinking at about 4.30pm in the Woodseats area of Sheffield, before getting a taxi to Dronfield, where he had met up with Mr Strafford and the two had gone drinking in the Green Dragon.

They had then taken another taxi to Chesterfield and had eventually ended up in Vibe, the court heard.

After fleeing the scene, Rose had hidden in a garden and called his father for help, and had then been driven back to Dronfield, where he had first tried to wake up a friend, and then gone to the home of his former partner and their two children, where he was arrested later that day.

In the fourth interview, and shortly before he was charged with murder, Rose told officers: “There’s nothing I can say to make it any better. I feel for that kid’s mum and dad. I lost my sister a couple of years ago and I know what it’s like to lose somebody. I never meant for any of this to happen.

Rose has admitted manslaughter but denies murder.

The trial continues.

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