A NIGHTCLUB doorman who repeatedly kicked Saints star Sia Soliola during a savage assault has been found guilty of grievous bodily harm.
Christopher Rose, who was working at the Imperial Bar in the early hours of March 12 last year, was convicted by a jury of eight men and four women at Liverpool Crown Court yesterday.
But his colleague Lee Simpson, who threw the punch which knocked Soliola out, was cleared of the same charge. A GBH verdict on doorman Kieran Waters is yet to be returned.
A trial heard this week how Soliola, 26, had been called outside the Ormskirk Street club by Stephen Bacon after the doormen accused his friend of breaking a glass panel at the top of the stairs.
CCTV footage showed the Kiwi international’s body language to be “relaxed and unconfrontational”, with Rose even admitting that the Saints star had acted as peacemaker.
But the mood changed when Soliola and Bacon returned to the doorway after walking away for a few moments.
Witness Ian Knowles, who had left the Imperial Bar to smoke a cigarette, told how one of the doormen had shouted abuse at Soliola and Bacon as they walked away - before punching Soliola in the face.
Waters admitted there was a coming together but claimed it was a push, not a punch, after seeing Soliola raise his hand to Rose.
Soliola, who admitted to having been “drunk and angry” then growled at the doormen before charging at them.
While on the floor at the bottom of the stairs, Soliola was repeatedly kicked by Rose while apparently being held down by Simpson and Waters. Mr Knowles told how Soliola, who was later hospitalised with a fractured eye socket, had been kicked in the head.
Another witness, Jack Harrison, told how a man in a checked shirt had taken the side of the doormen and restrained Mr Bacon while Soliola was being assaulted.
When Soliola was ejected again, fellow Saints player Carl Forster jumped on Rose in a bid to break up the fight and Rose and Waters armed themselves with improvised weapons - a rope and a metal pole.
Forster told the court he feared for Soliola’s life and thought his teammate had been hit with a metal pole when he was eventually knocked unconscious.
Mr Bacon said the doormen subsequently told him he didn’t need to call the police, to which he replied: “I want the police.”
Giving evidence, Rose, 33, of Hansby Drive, Speke, a doorman for 15 years, accepted kicking Soliola - albeit only twice - but claimed he was acting in self defence.
Simpson, 24, of Waterside Court, Runcorn, described Soliola as “a force to be reckoned with” and denied punching him or restraining him at the bottom of the stairs. He agreed the kicking went too far and accepted that Soliola’s hands were by his side when the knockout punch was thrown.
Head doorman Waters, 25, of St Chad’s Road, Chester, accepted he picked up a metal pole but said he had no intention of hitting anyone. n See the Reporter website for updates.