A dad-of-three who was left with life-changing injuries after being brutally beaten by football thugs has died five years later.
Cambridge United supporter Simon Dobbin, 48, was attacked by a large group of Southend United fans after their teams’ 0-0 draw in March, 2015.
The men stamped on his head for 90 seconds, causing him to suffer permanent brain damage that left him unable to walk, talk or control his movements.
Two years later, 13 men were convicted for the unprovoked attack but 12 have since been released. Essex police confirmed it will now review their investigation to determine whether any further charges should be brought against them.
Simon’s wife and full-time carer Nicole, 48, confirmed Simon passed away in his sleep at their home in Mildenhall, Suffolk, in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Nicole said Simon’s death came as a shock to the family as he had been ‘his usual self, laughing and smiling the day before’.
She told ITV Anglia: ‘Today I lost my gentle giant, words cannot express the loss I’m feeling.
‘I’m thankful for the fantastic memories I have, he fought so very hard to be with his family.
‘Sadly his heart wasn’t strong enough, but he is now at peace and will be forever in my heart.’
The Dobbins’ plight had touched the hearts of many across the nation after their home was transformed by a team on BBC’s DIY SOS in January, 2019.
Volunteers worked to make their home suitable to Simon’s needs, after the attack left him requiring round-the-clock assistance.
Nicole believes her ‘fun and bubbly’ husband, who had served in the Royal Air Force, ‘absolutely’ died of his injuries.
Simon has been severely unwell numerous times since the attack and has been rushed to hospital – but he had always returned home.
‘There has been nothing over last few years,’ Nicole said. ‘I guess his heart just gave up.
‘We spoke to the GP this morning and we are not sure if it will go to coroners’ court, but he died because of the hypoxic brain damage.’
Nicole confirmed that she has already spoken to Essex Police about a retrial, and claimed he died of his injuries.
‘They didn’t just destroy Simon’s life, but they destroyed our lives as well,’ she added.
‘I lost the man I married. He was trapped in that body and suffered many health issues.’
Nicole has been campaigning for ‘Simon’s Law’ since the attack, which would see the earnings or benefits of criminals deducted monthly and sent to the NHS to care for the patients they have hospitalised. Her petition has garnered more than 50,000 signatures.
Tributes have poured in for the father, including Cambridge United who tweeted ‘sweet dreams Simon. Forever a U’.
DIY SOS presenter Nick Knowles also paid tribute to the family ‘who put everything aside to care him’.
Det Ch Insp Stephen Jennings, of Essex Police, said: ‘Our thoughts go to Simon’s family and friends at this very difficult time.
‘We will review the initial investigation to establish whether we need to take any further action.’
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