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Dublin: 1 °C Sunday 15 December, 2019
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Two men in their 20s appear in court over attack on Sean Cox

Sean Cox suffered serious head injuries and is still in hospital.

Image: Merseyside Police

TWO ROMAN MEN have appeared in court in Liverpool charged after the attack on Irish football fan Sean Cox outside Anfield last month.

Daniele Sciusco, 29 and Filippo Lombardi, 20, were charged after an attack on the Liverpool FC supporter. Lombardi will stand trial in October after pleading not guilty to violent disorder and inflicting grievous bodily harm on Sean Cox, while Sciusco is to be sentenced after pleading guilty to violent disorder.

Italian nationals Filippo Lombardi, 20, and Daniele Sciusco, 29, were charged with violent disorder after the Champions League semi-final between the clubs on Tuesday, 24 April.

Lombardi was also charged with inflicting grievous bodily harm on Sean Cox, 53, who had travelled from Ireland to watch the match, which was won 5-2 by the Reds.

The dad-of-three suffered serious head injuries and a month later remains in hospital at Walton Neurological Centre with his wife Martina at his bedside.

The Dunboyne, County Meath man sustained a severe bleed on his brain and underwent a major operation before he was put into an induced coma.

Sporadic trouble broke out in the city centre before the game, attended by more than 50,000 fans, including around 5,000 supporters from Italy.

Fighting then erupted near The Albert pub, on Walton Breck Road behind the Spion Kop stand, around 10 minutes before kick-off at Anfield.

Witnesses said Mr Cox, who attended the match with his brother, was struck with a belt after a group of Roma fans emerged from Venmore Street.

Court hearing

Lombardi, of Viale Antonio Ciamarra, Rome, and Sciusco, of no fixed address but from Rome, appeared at Liverpool Crown Court this morning. The judge today was Judge Alan Conrad, QC.

Keith Sutton is prosecuting the case.

Lombardi is defended by Alison Gurden, while Sciusco is defended by Nigel Power, QC.

Lombardi and Sciusco appeared via video link from HMP Preston, where they have been remanded in custody. Inside the court, there were Italian interpreters to assist the defendants.

Members of Lombardi’s family from Italy attended the hearing this morning.

On count one, Lombardi is charged with inflicting grievous bodily harm against Sean Cox on 24 April 2018. He pleaded not guilty.

On count two, the men are both charged with violent disorder, the wording of the charge being that: on 24 April 2018, allegedly using or threatening unlawful violence when present together, being three or more persons in total who used or threatened unlawful violence and the conduct of them all taken together was such as would cause a person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for his personal safety.

Lombardi pleaded not guilty to violent disorder.

Sciusco pleaded guilty to violent disorder.

Sutton said the prosecution are still considering their position. He said this is an ongoing investigation.

He said it is proposed the trial is moved away from Liverpool, and Judge Conrad said it could be heard in Preston in October.

Sutton said the trial is estimated to last one week, and Power asked whether his client – Sciusco – could be sentenced today.

Judge Conrad and Sutton for the prosecution both said they are provisionally against this proposal.

‘Impeccable character’

Power told the court the pressing matter as far as Sciusco is concerned is he does not speak any English at all, and nothing can happen under the repatriation of offenders act until he is sentenced.

He said: “We understand today probably presents too many logistical difficulties but as the events are captured on video in our submission different considerations apply and it is one of those cases were one could sentence separately.”

“Mr Sciusco is a man who is 29 years of age and all our researches suggest of impeccable character.”

Sutton said this is an ongoing investigation, and that Sciusco is part of the violent disorder, it is a joint charge and the same judge should sentence both men.

Power said this does not have to happen at the same time.

Judge Conrad said Power may make representations to the trial judge. Power said they will progress matters then.

Judge Conrad remanded Sciusco in custody to await sentence and said he can apply to the Preston judge as to when he is sentenced.

Sutton said the trial date offered is 8 October this year and Gurden said a pre-trial review may be appropriate.

Judge Conrad said Lombardi will stand trial in Preston on October 8 and remanded him in custody.

Comments are closed as this case is still before the courts.

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About the author:

Neil Docking and Ben Turner/The Liverpool Echo

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