The 12 men jailed for vicious attack
Nine men jailed for violent disorder:
Five years for Ryan Carter, 21, of Southend-on-Sea
Four years for Jamie Chambers, 24, of Southend-on-Sea
Ryan Carter and James Chambers
Three-and-a-half years for Lewis Courtnell, 34, of Southend-on-Sea
Three-and-a-half years for Scott Nicholls, 40, of Basildon
Lewis Courtnell (left) and Scott Nicolls
Three-and-a-half years for Matthew Petchey, 26, of Rochford
Sixteen months for Rhys Pullen, 21, of Wickford
Matthew Petchey (left) and Rhys Pullen
Five years for Thomas Randall, 22, of of Southend-on-Sea
Five years for Alexander Woods, 25, of Westcliff-on-Sea
Three years for James Woods, 25, of of Westcliff-on-Sea
Three men jailed for conspiracy to commit violent disorder:
Three years for Greg Allen, 29, of Westcliff-on-Sea
Three years for Phil McGill, 32, of Westcliff-on-Sea
Two-and-half-years for Michael Shawyer, 31, of Leigh-on-Sea
The wife of a football fan who was left brain damaged after a brutal hooligan assault has called for her husband’s attackers to face murder charges.
Nicole Dobbin, 50, wants the men responsible for stamping on Simon Dobbin’s head to serve life in prison for their role in the savage attack after a football match in Southend, Essex in 2015.
Her comments come as Essex Police revealed that there was a causal relationship between the horrifying assault and Cambridge United fan Simon’s death in October 2020.
Mr Dobbin, from Mildenhall, Suffolk, was beaten and ‘kicked like a football’ by hooligans after going to watch Cambridge draw against Southend in an unprovoked attack.
13 men were convicted for their role in the attack at Basildon Crown Court in 2017, with just three men being handed maximum sentences of only five years behind bars.
Father-of-three Mr Dobbin, who served in the RAF, suffered permanent brain damage and was left unable to walk or talk following the horrifying assault in March 2015.
He died in October last year aged 48, after his story touched the nation while appearing on BBC DIY SOS and having his house adapted by Nick Knowles and a team of 900 volunteers.
Reacting to the news, Nicole said that the ‘utter thugs’ should be locked away for life for their attack on her husband of 22 years.
Nicole said: ‘If you stamp on someone’s head for 90 seconds then your intention is to kill.
‘They took Simon’s life – he was clinically dead for seven minutes. That’s why we felt disappointed at the trial.
‘If they hadn’t stamped on him he wouldn’t have gone into cardiac arrest and had the brain damage.’
It comes as detectives investigating his death are looking to bring fresh charges against his attackers, as a post-mortem examination showed a link between a random attack on him and his passing five years later.
Father-of-three Mr Dobbin was on his way home from watching Cambridge play Southend when rival supporters poured out of a nearby pub, The Railway Tavern, and ‘jumped’ a group of Cambridge fans in March 2015.
One witness, speaking after the attack, said the rival fans ‘just used [Mr Dobbin] like a football’, and said he was saved by a friend who laid on top of him.
Mr Dobbin suffered brain damage, damaged hips, broken ribs and a broken nose during the onslaught on and spent more than three weeks on life support.
Eight men were found guilty of violent disorder, while three more were found guilty of conspiracy to commit violent disorder.
Just three of those found guilty were sentenced to a paltry maximum of five years, the top penalty for causing violent disorder.
One of the thugs was found with a ‘hooligan card’ on their mobile phone that read: ‘First we take your life, then we take your wife.’
After reopening their investigation, Essex Police detectives are working to see whether they can ‘directly and evidentially show who was responsible for his death’.
Judge David Pugh convicted thirteen men in 2017 over their involvement in the attack, and 12 of them were handed jail terms totalling more than 42 years.
Nicole, speaking to exclusively MailOnline, added: ‘I’ve had my soulmate taken away and they’ve lost nothing.
‘Hopefully we will get the justice we deserve.
‘I’d like to see them charged with murder and conspiracy to murder. They all knew what was going on.
‘I’m hoping that the ones who stamped will get murder charges and the ones who were part of the lead up to his attack should also be done for conspiracy to murder.
‘I’m terrified of going through another court case but if they do charge someone then I’ll be there.’
Asked what punishment Nicole would want for the alleged culprits, she said a life sentence.
Nicole Dobbin, 50, (right) wants the men responsible for stamping on Simon Dobbin’s head to serve life in prison for their role in the savage 2015 attack after a football match in Southend, Essex
One of the thugs was found with a ‘hooligan card’ on their mobile phone, with the phrase ‘First we take your life, then we take your wife’
Mrs Dobbins previously petitioned for a ‘Simon’s Law’ to give tougher sentences to serious thugs in light of her husband’s attack.
Describing her proposed changes ‘Simon’s Law’, she wrote on a petition page: ‘How can someone be clinically dead for seven minutes and this be a violent public disorder? The law needs to changed around these cases and a higher sentence given.
‘I want the government to put Simon’s Law into place. Simon’s law will state that If an individual is charged and found guilty of a violent public disorder, causing harm to any other, then a percentage of earnings through employment or benefits, are taken from them and paid back to our NHS for the rest of their lives.’
13 men were convicted for their role in the attack at Basildon Crown Court in 2017, but his wife Nicole revealed that all of the ‘monsters’ are already back on the streets.
The grievous bodily harm case that lead to an unprecedented murder conviction after the victim died three years later
In 2014, Adam Cross, 35, was charged with murder three years after carrying out an attack on his victim Joseph Starzacher
It would not be the first time police have sought to bring charges in a case where a person has died years after an assault.
In 2014, Adam Cross, 35, was charged with murder three years after carrying out an attack on his victim Joseph Starzacher.
Mr Cross was originally jailed for grievous bodily harm after he violently set on Mr Starzacher in a takeaway in Salisbury, Wiltshire, in 2007.
Mr Starzacher remained alive – though in a vegetative state – until succumbing to pneumonia in 2010
Mr Starzacher remained alive – though in a vegetative state – until succumbing to pneumonia, caused by his immobility, in 2010.
Medical experts concluded that the 37-year-old’s death was linked to the head injury Cross caused.
In a then unprecedented move, Cross was charged with murder.
He was found guilty and handed a life sentence with a minimum term of 14 years.
Three of the men were jailed for just five years – the maximum possible sentence for the offence of committing violent disorder – with sentences of varying lengths for the others.
Eight were sentenced for violent disorder, including; Ryan Carter, 21, of York Road, Southend, Jamie Chambers, 24, of Coleman Street, Southend, Lewis Courtnell, 34, of Stadium Road, Southend, Scott Nicholls, 40, of Little Spenders, Basildon, Matthew Petchey, 26, of Lascelles Gardens, Rochford, Thomas Randall, 22, of Seaforth Avenue, Southend, Alexander Woods, 25, of Fairmead Avenue, Westcliff and James Woods, 25, of Fairmead Avenue, Westcliff.
Three others were found guilty of conspiracy to commit violent disorder: Greg Allen, 29, of Western Avenue, Westcliff, Phil McGill, 32, of Hornby Avenue, Westcliff and Michael Shawyer, 31, of Belgrave Road, Leigh-on-Sea.
Ian Young, 41, of Brightwell Avenue, Westcliff was found guilty of assisting an offender.
The shortest sentence – 16 months – was given to Rhys Pullen, who admitted the charge of violent disorder earlier in proceedings.
Mr Dobbin died in October last year aged 48, after his story touched the nation while appearing on BBC DIY SOS and having his house adapted by Nick Knowles and a team of 900 volunteers.
On Wednesday, investigating officers revealed stronger punishments could be handed out for the thugs who assaulted Mr Dobbin after a post-mortem identified a ‘causal link’ between the 2015 attack and his death five years later.
An inquest at Chelmsford Coroners’ Court was today opened into the death of the beloved Cambridge United fan.
The coroners’ officer, Joe Instrall, said: ‘On 21 March 2015, the 48-year-old attended a football match in Southend, Essex and was subjected to a serious assault and serious head injuries which were life-changing.
‘Essex Police investigated the circumstances around the assault and a number of individuals were arrested.”
A post-mortem investigation was carried out in Colchester and a provisional cause of death was given as 1A complications arising from hypoxic-ischemic brain injury following assault.
Area coroner for Essex Sean Horstead formally opened the inquest and confirmed they would suspend proceedings at the request of Essex Police.
‘Any resumption of coronial investigation will be at the conclusion of any contemplated criminal proceedings,’ he added.
Acting Detective Superintendent Stephen Jennings, from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: ‘We have received the final report following the post-mortem examination and it shows pathologically there was a causal link between the assault Simon was subjected to, and his death.
‘We will now carry out an investigation to see if we can directly and evidentially show who was responsible for his death.
‘I know Simon’s story has touched the lives of many people and we are supporting his family.
‘My thoughts are with his friends and loved ones.’
Nicole, who cared full-time for Simon until he passed away last October, revealed that she has since given up her former job as a carer, which she did since she was 21.
She now works in Aldi as a store assistant.
Nicole said: ‘I couldn’t work as a carer any more. It was too soon after Simon.
‘All I could think was “why isn’t Simon here”.
‘I have nothing to give anymore. I feel totally lost without him [Simon].
‘After he passed away I realised just how much I did do – constantly making sure the medications were right and he was all right.’
Cambridge United supporter Simon Dobbin (left), from Mildenhall, Suffolk, was beaten and ‘kicked like a football’ by hooligans after going to watch Cambridge draw against Southend in an unprovoked attack in March 2015
Mr Dobbin is pictured with his daughter Emily (left) and wife Nicole at Cambridge United FC
His story touched the nation after a team of 900 volunteers came forward to help with the adaptation of his home in Peterhouse Close, Mildenhall with Nick Knowles on DIY SOS
Nicole and Simon met at a nightclub in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk in 1996.
Simon was serving as a gunner in the RAF at the time, during which he completed tours in Northern Ireland and Bosnia.
After his service, he became a transport manager for Browns Of Burwell, a diesel fuel supplier near his home in Mildenhall, Suffolk.
The couple married in 1998 and had daughter Emily a year later.
Emily, now 22, was just 16 when her dad was attacked and she was forced to retake Year 12 due to the trauma.
She now works as a paramedic for East of England Ambulance Service after she finished her degree in paramedic science at St George’s University in London this year.
Mr Dobbin is pictured (centre) with Cambridge fans at Southend United’s Roots Hall in 2015
Mrs Dobbin thanks the DIY SOS team for their work during the episode in January 2019
Nicole said: ‘Both Emily and I lost Simon in 2015 when he was attacked. It was a different Simon but we were grateful to still have him.
‘We’ve lost him twice.
‘But we can thank the [coronavirus] pandemic because Emily was here when her dad passed.’
Nicole said that she has spoken to investigators about the latest police update but is not anticipating immediate results.
She said: ‘I’m not expecting anything to happen next week.
‘You just have to carry on and see where it goes.
‘I asked the police what the sentence and charges would be but they can’t tell me much until they’ve done their investigation.
‘In my heart, I hope someone is charged for what they did to Simon.
Mr Dobbin is pictured in hospital on DIY SOS in January 2019 after he was left brain damaged
Sympathy: The TV host paid tribute to the father-of-three with a touching post on Twitter
Before: Simon could not get out into the garden with his family because of access problems
After: Large glass doors were added and the garden was modernised to the family can get out and enjoy the space
‘If this does go to trial and someone is found guilty it will highlight football violence because it needs to stop, there’s really no need for it.
‘Simon would walk away from anything like that.
‘He would say “calm down, let’s go get a pint”.’
Mr Dobbin’s ordeal touched the nation when his house was transformed by a team led by Nick Knowles on the BBC programme DIY SOS: The Big Build in January 2019.
The episode saw an army of volunteers help to turn his home into one more suitable for his needs, after he was left requiring round-the-clock care following the assault.
Mr Dobbin’s home was transformed by a team from DIY SOS, led by Nick Knowles, who provided the father with his own bedroom for the first time in three years.
More than 900 volunteers came forward to help transform the home, where Simon was sleeping in the living room and only had access to bed baths.