Chesterfield murder trial: Live coverage from the sentencing of the man who killed former soldier and Sheffield United fan

We are here at Derby Crown Court for the sentencing of Connor Rose, who murdered former soldier Joseph Robotham outside a Chesterfield nightclub in February last year.

By Andy Done-Johnson
Friday, 5th February 2021, 2:23 pm

Rose punched Mr Robotham with a bottle outside Chesterfield’s Vibe Bar, in Holywell Street, in the early hours of Saturday, February 8 last year, rendering him unconscious.

The former soldier fell heaving to the floor, banging his head on the ground and fracturing his skull, dying of “devastating” brain injuries the following day.

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Joseph Robotham was murdered by Connor Rose in February last year

The 24-year-old had got into an altercation with a friend of Rose inside the bar moments earlier and both men had been ejected from the premises. Rose had been pushed over in the scuffle and targeted Mr Robotham in that prosecutors described as a “revenge attack”.

Rose, 25, had admitted manslaughter but denied murder. He was found guilty by majority verdict by a jury on Wednesday, following a two-week trial.

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Chesterfield murder trial: Man jailed for at least 13 years for killing former soldier and Sheffield United fan

Last updated: Friday, 05 February, 2021, 15:33

  • We are here at Derby Crown Court for the sentencing of Connor Rose, who murdered former soldier Joseph Robotham outside a Chesterfield nightclub in February last year.
  • Rose punched Mr Robotham with a bottle outside Chesterfield’s Vibe Bar, in Holywell Street, in the early hours of Saturday, February 8 last year, rendering him unconscious.
  • Rose, 25, had admitted manslaughter but denied murder. He was found guilty by majority verdict by a jury on Wednesday, following a two-week trial.
  • He has today been jailed for at least 13 years 

Rose has now been taken down.

Judge Smith QC - "I accept that you are extremely remorseful for what you did. There is no price on human life and whatever I choose to do it will never bring back Joseph Robotham."

Rose has been sentenced to 14 years minimum term, less the 360 days he has already served on remand. Meaning he will be eligible to be considered for parole in 13 years and five days.

Judge Smith QC: "Something flicked a switch. Whether it was adrenalin, drink or a desire to help your friend, you punched Mr Robotham to the head with a bottle in your hand."

Judge Shaun Smith QC is now addressing the court. He said: "Where does a judge begin when so many lives have been changed forever by a single action."

Describing the eight seconds between Rose leaving the club and hitting Mr Robotham, he said: "I dearly wish by my sentencing that I could give everyone those eight seconds back."

Mr Kazakos, talking about Connor Rose: "He's 25 now and was 24 at the time, and he's the father of two young children aged five and three, and prior to his decision to go out drinking, he was working full time in a factory. He accepted responsibility, not for murder I accept, four days after he was arrested, and it's to his credit that he entered his guilty plea to manslaughter on February 12 last year."

The judge has accepted that the bottle wasn't used as a weapon but it is an "aggravating factor" that he had the bottle in his hand when he punched Mr Robotham.

Chelsea Neale: "I want the court to know that Joe's death has ruined my life and the lives of so many others."

Leon Kazakos QC is now mitigating for Rose. He said that Rose always maintained that he didn't use the bottle as a weapon but had punched Mr Robotham.

"When people ask me how I'm feeling I say I'm okay, but I'm not."

She told the court that when Joe died, she lost her partner, her home and her car, and now has to share a bedroom with the nine-year-old sister.

 "I can't go past the Vibe nightclub any more as I just think of Joe lying on the floor."

She told the court Joe's death has had a dramatic impact on her mental health, and she had a panic attack at Joe's funeral and thought she may have to go to hospital.

Mr Robotham's partner, Chelsea Neale, is about to read her statement to the court.

In an emotional reading, she told the court: "I loved Joe very much. Since he died my life has changed beyond recognition. Joe was looking at me and opened his mouth to speak to me when his eyes rolled back and he fell to the floor. The man was laughing and saying that Joe deserved it."

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