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AS Roma fan jailed for attacking Liverpool supporter

An Italian football fan was jailed for three-and-a-half years on Thursday after admitting assaulting a Liverpool supporter before a Champions League game, leaving the victim with catastrophic head injuries.

AS Roma fan jailed for attacking Liverpool supporter
Liverpool and Roma fans at the match in April 2018 before which Sean Cox was attacked. Photo: Oli Scarff/AFP

Simone Mastrelli, 30, from Rome, pleaded guilty to unlawfully and maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm on Sean Cox outside Liverpool's Anfield Stadium on April 24th, before their match with Italian side Roma.

Irish national Cox suffered a severe, traumatic brain injury as a result of the attack and is still recovering after spending four-and-a-half weeks at a specialist neurological unit.

Mastrelli knocked Cox unconscious with a single heavy blow to the face, as he led a group of 'ultras', some of whom were carrying belts in their hands as weapons.

READ ALSO: Roma donates €150,000 to Liverpool supporter beaten up by their fans


Photo: Paul Ellis/AFP

Cox's daughter Shauna, 20, read out a statement as Mastrelli watched on at Preston Crown Court in northwest England.

“Before this brutal and vicious attack my dad was a fit and confident man, a man of integrity with a huge passion for life who represented everything which is good,” she said. “This violent and unprovoked attack left dad in a dire situation.

“His future is uncertain. We don't know how he will progress and that really frightens us.”

Mastrelli was arrested in Italy last month on a European arrest warrant before being extradited to Britain.

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Judge Mark Brown, told Mastrelli that “there is no doubt in my mind that you went to the stadium as a group to sort out the Liverpool supporters and in doing so you have destroyed the life of an innocent man and his family.

“This was, on any view, a dreadful offence. It has had a profound impact on Mr Cox and his family.”

Another Roma fan, Filippo Lombardi, 21, was last year jailed for three years for violent disorder over the incident. A third fan, Daniele Sciusco, 29, also admitted violent disorder and was jailed for two-and-a-half years.

Sporadic trouble broke out in Liverpool city centre before the match as more than 50,000 fans made their way to Anfield, including around 5,000 Roma fans.

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CRIME

New York returns 214 stolen artworks to Italy in seven months

Authorities in New York announced on Thursday the return to Italy of 14 more antiquities, worth an estimated €2.3 million, as part of an investigation into smuggling of stolen artifacts.

New York returns 214 stolen artworks to Italy in seven months

The Manhattan District Attorney’s office has been conducting an extensive investigation over the past two years into looted antiquities that have ended up in New York museums and galleries — including the prestigious Metropolitan Museum of Art.

During a ceremony on Thursday with the Italian consul general and Italian police representatives, 14 more artifacts – some 2,600 years old – were officially returned to Italy, bringing the total number of repatriated pieces to that country over the past seven months to 214, District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office said.

READ ALSO: Italian ‘art squad’ police recover 800 illegally-excavated archaeological finds

More than 700 pieces worth more than $100 million have been returned in the past year to 17 countries, including Italy as well as Cambodia, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Iraq, and Greece, the statement added.

New York, a hub of stolen antiquities trafficking for decades, set up a task force in 2017 to investigate the illicit trade.

According to the statement by District Attorney Bragg, who took office in January 2022, Thursday’s repatriation included the silver “Sicily Naxos Coin,” minted around 430 BCE and currently valued at half a million dollars.

Other notable items included ancient pottery dating to 510 BCE, and amarble head of Roman Emperor Hadrian, dating to 200 CE.

Among the culprits behind the 14 returned pieces, the statement said, were well-known art traffickers Giacomo Medici and Giovanni Franco Becchina, as well as Robert Hecht, the Paris-based American art dealer who died in 2012.

The traffickers had “relied on gangs of tombaroli (tomb raiders) to loot carefully chosen and insufficiently guarded archaeological sites throughout the Mediterranean,” it added.

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