I was kicked in back as I helped Sean on the ground

Liver­pool fan tells jury of mo­ment his brother was se­ri­ously in­jured

Irish Daily Mirror - - STATESIDE - By eleanor Bar­low

the brother of ir­ish Liver­pool fan Sean Cox has told a court he was kicked as he tended to him on the ground.

Roma sup­porter Filippo Lom­bardi, 21, is ac­cused of in­flict­ing griev­ous bod­ily harm on the fa­ther of three in a joint at­tack out­side An­field on April 24.

Mr Cox’s brother Martin told Pre­ston Crown Court yes­ter­day his brother had been “de­lighted” when they were of­fered tick­ets for the match the week be­fore.

The pair trav­elled over from Ire­land on the morn­ing of April 24 and had been walk­ing along Walton Breck Road to­wards the ground shortly af­ter 7pm.

The 46-year-old said: “I re­call we heard some noises, not good noises – we just sensed there was some­thing not right.

“At that time peo­ple come across us in dark clothes, chant­ing.”

He added the group were chant­ing in an ag­gres­sive way. He said: “I turned to Sean as if to say, ‘Let’s get out of here’, or what­ever, but as I turned Sean was ly­ing on the ground.”

Martin Cox told the court he had not seen what had caused his 53-year-old brother to fall down.

He added: “I just froze for a sec­ond, just in com­plete shock. My next in­stinct was to go straight down to Sean to see if he was OK.

“I bent down to Sean and, as I was bent over, I could feel a kick on the back and I sort of lost bal­ance, stum­bled a bit, but I didn’t look up. I just gath­ered my­self around Sean.”

He said his brother, from Dun­boyne in Co Meath, was re­cently moved to the Na­tional Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Hospi­tal in Dun Laoghaire, Dublin.

He told the jury: “He can’t talk, he just whis­pers.”

Martin Cox added his brother is not able to sit up un­aided.

He said: “He can slightly push him­self but he has to be helped to be pushed up fully.”

The court heard from Nor­we­gian Liver­pool sup­porter Tommy Josef­sen, who had been stand­ing in Walton Breck Road. He said he saw an “in­tim­i­dat­ing” group of 50 or 60 peo­ple wear­ing black cloth­ing com­ing into the road from Ven­more Street. They had their faces cov­ered and were shout­ing and singing.

He added: “They ap­proached some peo­ple that were more in the mid­dle of the street and then it went re­ally fast be­cause sud­denly a guy from be­hind with his belt knocked a per­son down.”

The court has heard Mr Cox fell to the ground af­ter be­ing punched by a man, who has been re­ferred to in court as N40.

The prose­cu­tion al­lege Lom­bardi “lashed out” with a belt at Mr Cox as he fell, but it is not clear whether the belt made con­tact with him.

Mr Josef­sen said: “I thought that the belt hit the back of his head and I could ac­tu­ally hear things break­ing.”

Lom­bardi de­nies be­ing part of a joint at­tack on Mr Cox but has ad­mit­ted vi­o­lent dis­or­der. The trial con­tin­ues.

Court Ac­cused and, right, Sean’s wife Martina

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