February 28, 2019 / 5:53 PM / 4 months ago

Soccer: Roma fan sentenced to three and a half years for Anfield assault

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Pre Season Friendly - Napoli v Liverpool - Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland - August 4, 2018 Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum and Andrew Robertson hold up a banner in support of Liverpool fan Sean Cox after the match REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - An AS Roma fan who assaulted a Liverpool supporter outside the English club’s Anfield stadium last April, leaving him with severe brain injuries, was jailed for three-and-a-half years at Preston Crown Court on Thursday.

Simone Mastrelli, 30, had pleaded guilty to the attack on Irish father of three Sean Cox, 53, before a Champions League semi-final, first-leg match between the two sides.

Judge Mark Brown said in sentencing the Italian, who was extradited last month on a European Arrest Warrant, that Mastrelli had destroyed the life of an innocent man and his family.

AS Roma president James Pallotta, who made a personal donation of 50,000 euros ($56,900) towards the medical and rehabilitation costs, last April described the attack on Cox as “the most disgusting stupidity”.

Cox’s daughter Shauna said in a victim impact statement to the court that her father had gone to watch the match with his brother but “never came home”.

“This violent and unprovoked attack on Dad left him in a dire situation. His future is uncertain and we don’t know how he will progress and that really frightens us,” she said.

“The focus now is on getting him the proper care he needs.”

($1 = 0.8787 euros)

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis

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