Sean Cox: Liverpool fan 'can't talk after Anfield attack'

Sean Cox Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Sean Cox travelled to Liverpool from Ireland with his brother Martin

A Liverpool fan attacked before a match and left in a coma cannot sit unaided and has problems speaking six months on, his brother has told a court.

Filippo Lombardi, 21, is on trial accused of assaulting Sean Cox, 53, before a Champions League game.

He has admitted violent disorder but denies wounding or inflicting grievous bodily harm at Preston Crown Court.

Mr Cox's brother Martin, who was with him at the time, said: "He can't talk, he just whispers."

An earlier court hearing was told the father-of-three from Dunboyne, Co Meath, Republic of Ireland was out of the coma, but his condition remained "very dire".

The brothers travelled over from Ireland on the morning of the 24 April semi-final between Liverpool and Roma, and had been walking towards Anfield stadium just after 19:00 BST when Sean was injured.

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

It is alleged that Italian Mr Lombardi "lashed out" with a belt at Mr Cox as he fell, but it is not clear whether the belt made contact.

Martin Cox told the jury: "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."

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Liverpool players held up a banner in support of Sean Cox at match in August

He continued: "I turned to Sean as if to say 'Let's get out of here'. But as I turned, Sean was lying on the ground."

He did not see what caused his brother to fall down, the court was told.

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 lost balance, stumbled a bit, but I didn't look up, I just gathered myself around Sean."

Mr Cox said his brother had recently been moved to the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dun Laoghaire, after treatment in Liverpool.

"He can slightly push himself but he has to be helped to be pushed up fully," he added.

Tommy Josefsen, a Norwegian Liverpool supporter, told the court he saw an "intimidating" group of 50 or 60 people approaching from a nearby street.

He said they were wearing black clothing with their faces covered, and were shouting and singing.

He told the court: "They went and 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."

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

The trial continues.

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