Republic of Ireland news

Roma fan charged over attack on Liverpool fan Sean Cox

Liverpool fan Sean Cox suffered 'catastrophic injuries' when he was assaulted before a Champions League game at Anfield
Eleanor Barlow, Press Association

A man has been charged with assaulting Liverpool FC supporter Sean Cox, police have said.

Merseyside Police said Simone Mastrelli (30) from Rome, had been extradited after being arrested on a European Arrest Warrant in Italy in connection with the assault outside Anfield ahead of the Champions League match between Liverpool FC and AS Roma on April 24 last year.

Father-of-three Mr Cox, 53, from Dunboyne in Co Meath, Ireland, suffered catastrophic head injuries in the attack.

He has been recovering at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dun Laoghaire.

A force spokesman said: "Mastrelli was extradited back to England yesterday and has been charged with Section 20 assault and violent disorder.

Read More: Liverpool fan Séan Cox `trying to sing familiar songs' during Christmas spent with family

"He has been remanded in custody to appear at South Sefton Magistrates' Court at 2pm today."

Over the new year, Mr Cox's family said they were thankful for the wave of public support and sympathy he had received from across Ireland and the UK, and across football.

He has been recovering at the National Rehabilitation Hospital, where his wife Martina says he is slowly making progress.

Mrs Cox said her husband, a sales director, still has the "battle ahead" of a long-slow recovery but was now eating and drinking independently after spending weeks incapacitated.

He spent four-and-a-half weeks at the Walton Centre in Liverpool, a specialist neurological unit for brain injuries, following the attack, before being airlifted to another specialist unit at Dublin's Beaumont Hospital.

The Gaelic football fan was a keen golfer and runner before his brain injury, and was due to run the Dublin marathon before the attack.

Ongoing fundraising has raised more than €1 million (£992,045) to date to help his family.

Liverpool FC will host a special legends game at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on April 12 in aid of "SupportSean", the Sean Cox appeal.

A squad of former Reds will line up against an Ireland XI team, with proceeds raised from the match donated to the Sean Cox Rehabilitation Trust.

Roma fan Filippo Lombardi (21) from Rome, was cleared of inflicting grievous bodily harm on Mr Cox in October, though he was jailed for three years for violent disorder.

Daniele Sciusco (29) from Rome, admitted violent disorder ahead of the match and was jailed for two-and-a-half years in August 2018.

Football fans can also support the fundraising appeal directly by visiting: gofundme.com/SupportSeanCox.

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