AN ITALIAN football fan has been found not guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm on Irish Liverpool supporter Sean Cox.
Roma fan Filippo Lombardi, 21, denied causing GBH to Mr Cox, 53, before a Champions League semi-final match at Anfield on April 24.
Mr Cox, a father-of-three from Dunboyne, Co. Meath, suffered life-changing injuries in the incident.
A jury of six men and six women found Mr Lombardi not guilty in a majority verdict this afternoon after just nine hours of deliberations at Preston Crown Court.
Lombardi admitted wrapping his buckled belt around his hand to "protect" himself from Liverpool supporters who became "aggressive" after Mr Cox was punched and collapsed to the ground outside a pub near Anfield stadium.
The Rome native was part of a group of 50 Roma fans who attended the match and maintained that he was not involved in any attack on Mr Cox.
He has pleaded guilty to a separate charge of violent disorder and is due to be sentenced for that charge.
Mr Cox's wife Martina and a number of other family members were in court as the verdict was announced.
Three members of Mr Lombardi's family were also in court.
The date of his sentencing for violent disorder remains unclear.