‘Bouncers who attached Saints ace Sia were in fight mode’

Sia Soliola
Sia Soliola

SAINTS star Sia Soliola told a court how his face was left in “a bloody mess” after he was brutally assaulted at the entrance of the Imperial Bar.

The 26-year-old was giving evidence at the trial of three bouncers accused of attacking him in the doorway of the Ormskirk Street nightclub.

Soliola had earlier received a text message from his friend, Stephen Bacon, to say that he was stuck outside and was not being allowed back in.

Doormen Christopher Rose, Lee Simpson and Kieran Waters suspected that Mr Bacon was to blame for smashing a glass panel on the stairway.

But, after attempting to negotiate with the bouncers for several minutes, Soliola, who admitted to having suffered memory loss about the incident, was punched in the face after stepping back into the doorway.

CCTV footage from inside the club then showed how he was repeatedly punched and kicked while on the floor at the foot of the stairs.

In interview, Rose claimed he had merely used his foot to keep Soliola down, Simpson claimed Soliola had threatened to “cut” them and Waters claimed Soliola had thrown the first punch.

After being thrown out of the door, Soliola, who had downed 10 pints of Peroni at the Billinge Arms before drinking three cocktails at the Imperial Bar, again attempted to confront the bouncers, who later armed themselves with metal bollards and a heavy rope.

He was eventually knocked unconscious by a punch to the face as he stepped back into the doorway - by which time fellow Saints player Carl Forster was supporting his teammate outside.

Soliola was hospitalised with a fractured eye socket and a laceration to the back of his head which required glueing.

Prosecutor Philip Astbury said Rose, Simpson and Waters had acted as a unit - in “fight mode” - and had used “extreme violence”.

Under cross examination, Gerald Baxter, defending Rose, asked Soliola: “You were very drunk weren’t you?”

“Yes,” replied Soliola.

“What do you think of your behaviour?”

“It wasn’t the most professional,” added an astonishingly candid Soliola, “but I wasn’t the one holding weapons.”

Mr Baxter then accused Soliola of being the aggressor, to which the Saints star replied: “Not at first, but after I was struck, yes. That’s when I lost it.”

When Neville Biddle, defending Simpson, asked Soliola whether he accepted that the door staff were there to regulate who went in and out of the club, Soliola replied: “Yes, but also to keep the safety of the public.”

Soliola admitted to having been “drunk and angry” and said he had only returned to the doorway to find out who had punched him.

Oliver Cook, defending Waters, then asked Soliola what he had intended to do when he returned to the doorway.

“I guess fight,” replied Soliola.

Rose, 33, of Hansby Drive, Speke, Simpson, 24, of Waterside Court, Runcorn, and Waters, 25, of St Chad’s Road, Chester, all deny GBH.

The trial is expected to last until the start of next week.