Attacked Liverpool fan Sean Cox 'making progress'
An Irish football supporter seriously injured in an attack before Liverpool's Champions League semi-final in April is making progress, his family said.
Sean Cox, from Dunboyne in Co Meath, no longer needs a feeding tube, can say more words and is trying to sing along to familiar tunes, according to his wife, Martina.
Mr Cox was the victim of an unprovoked attack as he made his way to Anfield for the tie against Roma on April 24.
He is currently receiving treatment at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dun Laoghaire.
A huge fundraising drive to pay for his ongoing medical costs has so far raised over €1.1m (£994,000).
In a statement released yesterday, Mrs Cox expressed her gratitude to those who have helped her husband.
"As we reach the end of 2018, I would like to extend a huge expression of gratitude to everyone who supported Sean and I, and our children, Jack, Shauna and Emma, since Sean's attack in April of this year," she said
"We spent a lot of time over Christmas with Sean in the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dun Laoghaire, where he is continuing to make progress.
"He no longer has a feeding tube (and) is starting to eat and drink again with the help of the wonderful nursing staff.
"Sean has some more words and is trying very hard to sing along to familiar songs. These are encouraging and proud steps for us all."
Martina also praised the support shown to her family, adding: "Our family used the time with Sean over Christmas to try and relay to him the public goodwill and support there has been for him over the eight months since his attack.
"We have shown him social media posts, press clippings and videos from fundraising events across Ireland, England and further afield, the GoFundMe page and the SupportSean.com website, letters and signed jerseys all in aid of Sean and his recovery.
"This time last year we were an ordinary family looking forward to another new year and what that would bring.
"Sean or I never dreamt that 12 months on, there would be websites or media interviews or fundraising events all brought about by what happened after Sean was attacked in Liverpool on April 24."
Martina admitted that the kindness and generosity they have received has helped her family to cope.
"While it has been an exceptionally difficult time, what has helped me and the kids get through it has been the overwhelming goodwill of Sean's family, friends, supporters and the general public," she said.
Liverpool FC manager Jurgen Klopp has donated €5,000 (£4,400) towards Mr Cox's long-term care.
In October Roma fan Filippo Lombardi (21) was cleared of being part of a joint attack on Mr Cox, but he admitted violent disorder and was jailed for three years.