Italian jailed for vicious assault on Liverpool fan Sean Cox

Sean Cox

An Italian fan has been jailed for three and a half years for a vicious assault on Liverpool supporter Sean Cox before the club's Champions League game against Roma last year.

Simone Mastrelli, 30, from Rome, was extradited after being arrested on a European Arrest Warrant in Italy in connection with the attack on father-of-three Mr Cox, from Dunboyne in Co Meath, Ireland.

Mr Cox suffered serious catastrophic head injuries in the attack outside Anfield and is now being treated in a rehabilitation clinic in Ireland.

Sean Cox with his wife Martina Credit: Family photo

Mastrelli was leading a group of between 50 and 60 Roma fans who wore the distinctive dark clothing of an unofficial body of supporters known as Ultras - many of whom covered up with hoods and balaclavas, and some who carried belts as weapons.

Mastrelli launched an unprovoked attack on Mr Cox, who was wearing a Liverpool scarf, and felled him with a single, heavy blow before he disappeared into the crowd of away supporters.

Jailed Simone Mastrelli Credit: Merseyside Police

The Recorder of Preston Judge Mark Brown said Mastrelli: "You must have picked him (Sean Cox) out because of the Liverpool scarf. Your head and face were covered by a hood and a balaclava and you were in front of Mr Cox with both arms raised towards him in a somewhat aggressive or confrontational way."

Mastrelli then delivered the blow which knocked Mr Cox to the ground and turned away to check his face-covering was still concealing his identity. In the minutes that followed, he moved within the crowd and changed his appearance by removing the hood and face-covering and taking off his jacket.

Judge Brown went on: "You then went into the stadium to enjoy the match, which was particularly callous given what had just happened and what you had done to Mr Cox. The next day you returned to Italy.

"There was huge international publicity but you did not come forward."

Martina Cox, with daughter Shauna, outside court Credit: Granada Reports

Outside court, Mr Cox's wife Martina said: "Today brings to a close to the court process. However the effects of the attack on Sean will remain with us for a lifetime.

"While it is pleasing to know that Mr Mastrelli will serve three-and-a-half years, he has given Sean and our family a life sentence.

"I would like to thank the police and all those that have been involved in the case and to all who have given us so much support."