A 30-year-old Italian man has been jailed for three-and-a-half years for the assault of Irish Liverpool fan Sean Cox outside Anfield ahead of a Champions League tie between Liverpool and Roma last April.

Simone Mastrelli, from Rome, had been extradited to the UK after being arrested on a European Arrest Warrant in Italy in connection with the assault outside Anfield on 24 April 2018.

Mr Cox, a 53-year-old father-of-three from Dunboyne in Co Meath, suffered catastrophic head injuries in the attack.

He has been recovering at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dún Laoghaire.

Sean Cox suffered catastrophic head injuries in the attack

He spent four-and-a-half weeks at the Walton Centre in Liverpool, a specialist neurological unit for brain injuries, following the attack, before being airlifted to another specialist unit at Dublin's Beaumont Hospital.

Mastrelli entered a guilty plea at Preston Crown Court to unlawfully and maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm on Mr Cox.

He pleaded not guilty to a separate count of violent disorder, also on 24 April, which will lie on file after the Crown accepted the plea.

Mr Cox's wife, Martina, was in court for the hearing.

Sentencing Mastrelli at Preston Crown Court this afternoon Judge Mark Brown called the assault 'a dreadful offence' which had 'had a profound impact on Sean Cox and his family'.

The judge said it was 'particularly callous' of Mastrelli to have continued on into the Liverpool vs Roma game after the assault 

Mr Cox's daughter Shauna told the court in a victim impact statement that before the attack her father had been a fit and confident man with a passion for life, who represented everything that was good.

Another Roma fan, Filippo Lombardi, 21, was cleared of inflicting grievous bodily harm on Mr Cox in October, though he was jailed for three years for violent disorder.

A third man, Daniele Sciusco, 29, from Rome, admitted violent disorder ahead of the match and was jailed for two-and-a-half years in August 2018.