Father-of-three who was left severely disabled by football thugs dies

Father-of-three, 48, who was left severely disabled with brain damage by gang of football thugs in unprovoked 90-second attack dies five years later

  • Simon Dobbin ‘kicked like a football’ after watching match in March 2015
  • Father-of-three suffered permanent brain damage and death announced today
  • Basildon Crown Court convicted 13 men for role in the attack in March 2015 

A father-of-three who was left severely disabled by a gang of football hooligans died today at home more than five years later after the unprovoked attack. 

Simon Dobbin, 48, from Mildenhall, Suffolk was beaten and ‘kicked like a football’ after going to watch Cambridge play away in Southend, in a brutal 90-second assault in March 2015.

The father-of-three, who served in the RAF, suffered permanent brain damage and was left severely disabled. 

Cambridge United announced today that he had died this morning, writing in a Twitter post: ‘Sweet dreams Simon. Forever a U.’ 

His wife, Nicola, told the BBC he had been ‘his usual self, laughing and smiling the day before’. She said his death had come as a shock to her and their daughter Emily.  

Cambridge United said Simon Dobbin died this morning, writing: ‘Sweet dreams Simon. Forever a U’ 

Simon Dobbin, 48, from Mildenhall, Suffolk was beaten and ‘kicked like a football’ after going to watch Cambridge play away in Southend, in an unprovoked attack in March 2015 

Basildon Crown Court convicted 13 men for their role in the attack in March 2015 but his wife Nicole revealed earlier this year that all of the ‘monsters’ were already back on the streets.

His wife, Nicola, 48, speaking out earlier this year, told The Mirror: ‘It feels like a slap in the face.’

How widow called for ‘Simon’s Law’ to target violent thugs 

Simon Dobbin’s widow, Nicola, launched a petition calling for tougher sentences for violent thugs in 2019, four years after her husband was attacked. 

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.’  

‘Every time I look at Simon, I can see the damage they caused him.

‘They are monsters. They didn’t give any consideration to what they were doing.’ 

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.

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 later featured on an episode of DIY SOS, presented by Nick Knowles, which saw the father provided with his own bedroom for the first time in three years. 

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. 

Judge David Pugh handed down sentences to 12 of the 13 men convicted of offences in the case of Simon Dobbin.

Three of the men were jailed for five years – the maximum possible sentence for the offence of committing violent disorder – with sentences of varying lengths for the others.

The shortest sentence – 16 months – was given to Rhys Pullen, who admitted the charge of violent disorder earlier in proceedings.

A thirteenth man, Ian Young, was found guilty of assisting offenders by hiding them. 

Nicola Dobbin has demanded a ‘Simon’s Law’ to give tougher sentences to serious thugs in light of her husband’s attack.  

The father-of-three and Cambridge United fan, who served in the RAF, suffered permanent brain damage and has been left severely disabled after the attack in March 2015 

Basildon Crown Court convicted 13 men for their role in the attack in March 2015 but his wife Nicole revealed earlier this year that all of the ‘monsters’ were already back on the streets 

Basildon Crown Court convicted 13 men for their role in the attack in March 2015 but his wife Nicole revealed that all of the ‘monsters’ are already back on the streets. Pictured: Police at the scene of the attack in Southend

Last year, 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. Above: The back garden before the transformation

After: Large glass doors were added and the garden was modernised so the family can get out and enjoy the space

The 12 men jailed for vicious attack 

Eight men were jailed for violent disorder:

Five years for Ryan Carter, 21, of Southend-on-Sea, Essex

Four years for Jamie Chambers, 24, of Southend-on-Sea, Essex

Three-and-a-half years for Lewis Courtnell, 34, of Southend-on-Sea, Essex



Ryan Carter (left), James Chambers (middle), and Lewis Courtnell (right) were all jailed for violent disorder

Three-and-a-half years for Scott Nicholls, 40, of Basildon, Essex

Three-and-a-half years for Matthew Petchey, 26, of Rochford, Essex

Sixteen months for Rhys Pullen, 21, of Wickford, Essex



Scott Nicholls (left), Matthew Petchey (middle) and Rhys Pullen (right) were all given custodial sentences for their roles in the attack

Five years for Thomas Randall, 22, of of Southend-on-Sea, Essex

Five years for Alexander Woods, 25, of Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex

Three years for James Woods, 25, of of Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex



Thomas Randall (left), Alexander Woods (middle) and James Woods (right) were all jailed for their involvement

Three men were jailed for conspiracy to commit violent disorder:

Three years for Greg Allen, 29, of Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex

Three years for Phil McGill, 32, of Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex

Two-and-half-years for Michael Shawyer, 31, of Leigh-on-Sea, Essex



Greg Allen (left), Phillip McGill (middle) and Michael Shawyer (right) were jailed for conspiracy to commit violent disorder

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