Newcastle winger Rolando Aarons faces jail over 90-second city bar brawl which 'blew up out of nowhere'

Newcastle United footballer Rolando Aarons (navy blue shirt, dark tie) arrives at Newcastle Crow Court this morning, where he faces charges relating to an incident at a popular Newcastle city centre bar. Picture by North News.
Newcastle United footballer Rolando Aarons (navy blue shirt, dark tie) arrives at Newcastle Crow Court this morning, where he faces charges relating to an incident at a popular Newcastle city centre bar. Picture by North News.

A Newcastle United player is facing jail over a 90-second city bar brawl which "blew up out of nowhere".

Winger Rolando Aarons was on a night out with friends and family celebrating a birthday in the VIP area at Livello, on the city's Quayside, when trouble flared in the early hours between his and another group.

Newcastle Crown Court heard "personal violence" was used, bottles were thrown during the stand off and clubber Wesley Erskine, from the rival faction, suffered a "nasty injury" to his head, which hit a table when bouncers tried to take him to safety.

Aarons, alongside five members of his party who were out that night in October 2016, were all due to stand trial on a charge of violent disorder, which carries a maximum jail term of five years.

But before a jury was sworn, five of them, including Aarons, pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of affray, which carries a maximum jail term of three years.

Aarons, 22, of Montagu Avenue, in Newcastle, who is now on loan to Italian club Hellas Verona, his mum Joan Jacob, 46, also of Montagu Avenue, his pals Jamar Collins, 22, of Walker Close, Bristol, Kallum Phillips, 23, of Kensington Park, Bristol and his cousin Garfield White, 23, of Wordsworth Road, Bristol, all admitted affray and will be sentenced in May.

Judge Edward Bindloss told Aarons, Jacob, Collins and Phillips: "The fact I am adjourning your cases and granting you bail and ordering a pre-sentence report is no indication of the likely sentence.

"All options remain open, including an immediate custodial sentence."

The court heard White is already a serving prisoner after being convicted of an unrelated, violent attack and will be sentenced on the same day as his co-accused but has been remanded in custody.

He hugged Aarons at the end of the case.

The others have been granted bail in the meantime and will be interviewed by the probation service for the preparation of a pre-sentence report.

Prosecutors dropped the case against another cousin Sabrina White, 24, of Wordsworth Road, Bristol, who the court heard acted as "peacemaker" on the night.

Judge Bindloss said there would be no "judicial criticism" of the prosecution by the acceptance of the lesser charge.

The judge said: "Rolando Aarons and his friends and family were in town celebrating a birthday in Livello in October 2016, with no indication of any trouble hitherto.

"CCTV shows the incident blew up out of nowhere and suddenly there is a melee involving numerous people."

The judge said the trouble started at just after 2.11am that morning and "lasted one-and-a-half minutes".

Judge Bindloss said the injury to Mr Erskine's head happened when door supervisors were "trying to escort him away from the trouble" and added that there was no criticism of the staff.

The court heard Mr Erskine had been at the bar with five others that night but only he provided a statement to or help the police in their investigation.

The judge said: "Some of them were clearly involved in using violence against Mr Aarons and his family and friends."

The court heard it was a member of Mr Erskine's group who "was the first to throw any item at all" and "escalated the incident".

Newcastle United footballer Rolando Aarons (navy blue shirt, dark tie) arrives at Newcastle Crow Court this morning, where he faces charges relating to an incident at a popular Newcastle city centre bar. Pictured (L-R): Jamal Collins, Rolando Aarons, Kallum Phillips, Sabrina White and Joan Jacob. Picture by North News

Newcastle United footballer Rolando Aarons (navy blue shirt, dark tie) arrives at Newcastle Crow Court this morning, where he faces charges relating to an incident at a popular Newcastle city centre bar. Pictured (L-R): Jamal Collins, Rolando Aarons, Kallum Phillips, Sabrina White and Joan Jacob. Picture by North News