‘Football hooligan cowards have destroyed our lives’
Thugs who left dad of one fighting for his life are jailed – with a maximum sentence of just five years
THE distraught wife of a Liverpool FC fan left in a coma and fighting for his life after being ambushed by 13 football hooligans says their lives have been destroyed by the cowardly attack.
Nicola Dobbin spoke out after thugs who kicked and stamped on her husband Simon, from Ormskirk, were jailed.
The biggest sentence any of the attackers received was just five years.
Simon, a 44-year-old dad of one, spent a year in hospital fighting for his life and is now back at home, but can no longer walk or talk.
Nicola said: “Not only have they destroyed Simon’s life, but mine also.”
THE devastated wife of a Liverpool FC fan who suffered serious brain damage when he was attacked by a gang of 13 thugs said: “I often wonder if it would be better to let him go peacefully.”
Ormksirk-born Simon Dobbin was watching his adopted team, Cambridge United, play an away game against Southend United when he was ambushed by the gang and battered into a coma.
The 44-year-old dad of one spent a year in hospital fighting for his life and is now back at the family home in Suffolk, but can no longer walk or talk.
His heartbroken partner, Nicole, who now cares for him 24 hours a day seven days a week, spoke out after the 13 attackers were sentenced at Basildon Crown Court.
The heaviest sentence handed down to any of the attackers was just five years.
Simon became visibly upset and had to be taken out of the court room as sentences were passed.
Nicole said: “I’m constantly shattered. Not only have they destroyed Simon’s life but mine also. I’ve been married to Simon for almost 20 years.
“I will never hear my husband tell me he loves me again, I will never feel his arms around me, but I need this more than ever.
“Simon will never walk Emily down the aisle and no child should have to see the dad they love reduced to tears. It destroys me knowing that one day I’ll wake up without my husband. I often wonder if it would be better to let him go peacefully.”
The attack took place at about 7.15pm on March 21, 2015, following a 0-0 draw between the two teams.
After a six-week trial and more than 18 hours of deliberation, the jury returned their verdicts at Basildon Crown Court on Friday, finding all 13 men guilty.
Nine men were convicted of violent disorder, three found guilty of conspiracy to commit violent disorder, and a 13th man found guilty of assisting an offender.
During the trial, the jury heard that the defendants scouted out locations as they planned the attack in revenge for a fight earlier in the day in which Simon had no involvement.
They ambushed a small group of Cambridge United supporters and during the violence simon was kicked and stamped on repeatedly, the court heard.
In a victim impact statement, Nicole said: “I hate what these violent thugs have done. Simon has a life sentence and what will they get? Back to their own lives in a few years. These defendants took Simon’s life - it is the paramedics that brought his life back. I’m disappointed with the justice system - this is wrong and so unfair.
“The law needs to be changed. These men need to be made an example of. My family and I have had to sit and listen to how this was a preplanned attack and then see these thugs outside the courtroom.
“I now have to watch my dad cry every time he sees Simon. This nightmare will never end for us.”
And she described the trauma of looking after Simon, saying: “Simon had been beaten so badly that you could not see his ear.
“It took paramedics seven minutes to restart his heart.
“I believed Simon would wake from this coma and return to his normal fun-loving self - how wrong was I?
“Although Simon is alive, he no longer has a life. He has clear signs of physical and mental damage. Simon returned home on March 16, 2016. Simon has been admitted to hospital on numerous occasions as he is unable to breathe and clear his throat.
“I now feel his life is in our hands. I’ve had to give up my job to become Simon’s full-time carer.
“Many nights I struggle to sleep as Simon chokes on his saliva and it terrifies me that he will choke to death.
“I have to deal with all his care needs. We have a carer from 8am to 8pm but at night I’m on my own.”
She initially described how her family’s lives were changed forever the day of the attack.
Nicole said: “On March 21, 2015 my life was turned upside down. Simon travelled to Southend to watch the football, a day he had so been looking forward to.
“I told him to enjoy the day but this was the last time I would see the husband I married.
“A fun-loving family man, he was always looking out for us.
“While working a night shift I was visited by two police officers who told me Simon had been beaten up and was on life support at Southend Hospital.
“I had to return home to wake our 16-year-old daughter and tell her what happened. This was the hardest thing of all.”