Italian man jailed for seriously injuring a Liverpool fan before a Champions League game
A Italian man has been jailed for three-and-a-half years for seriously injuring a Liverpool FC fan before a Champions League game last April.
At Preston Crown Court today (28 February 2019), Simone Mastrelli, 30, pleaded guilty to assaulting Sean Cox in the run-up to the AS Roma v Liverpool clash on 24 April 2018. He was sentenced on the same day.
Two other Italian nationals have already been prosecuted in relation to the outburst of violence in the run up to the game.
Fillipo Lombardi, 21, and Daniele Sciusco, 29, both pleaded guilty last year to violent disorder. Sciusco was sentenced to two years and six months' imprisonment and Lombardi to three years' imprisonment.
All three men were part of a group of Roma fans who were chanting and acting aggressively as they approached the Anfield Football ground along Venmore Street.
They were wearing dark clothing and many had their faces covered. Several were carrying belts that they seemed to be prepared to use as weapons.
Mastrelli punched Mr Cox in an totally unprovoked attack as he made his way to the ground with his brother Martin.
They had travelled from Ireland to see the game and were staunch Liverpool fans. Sean Cox was knocked unconscious by the blow and fell to the ground. Martin tried to help his brother but was kicked in the buttocks and also fell to the ground.
The attack was filmed on a mobile phone by a Liverpool fan who was in the area. That evidence was key to the prosecution case.
Sean Cox suffered the attack just a few days short of his 53rd birthday. He suffered a serious and significant head injury as a result and his recovery has been long and painful. He may never recover fully.
Damion Lloyd, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “This was a totally unprovoked attack on an innocent bystander who had simply gone to a football match to see the club he loved.
“Before this attack Sean Cox was described as a busy husband and father of three children. He worked full time as a sales director. He had a wide circle of friends and many active interests in golf, soccer and Gaelic football. The reality is that he is unlikely to live independently again.
“Mastrelli, Sciusco and Lombardi probably think of themselves as football fans, but in reality, they are simply violent troublemakers, on the lookout for the next excuse for a fight.
“This has been a complicated case for the Crown Prosecution Service involving three defendants, guilty of different offences and from another jurisdiction.
"We have worked closely with the authorities in Rome and an European Arrest Warrant was used to bring Mastrelli back to this country to face the consequences of his actions. Sciusco and Lombardi were arrested in Liverpool after the game.
“Justice has now been done and the Crown Prosecution Service would like to thank Mr Cox and his family for their courage and determination to help us bring this prosecution.”
Notes to editors
Damion Lloyd is a District Crown Prosecutor with Mersey-Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service.