‘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

Ormskirk Advertiser - - Front Page - BY TARA COX news­desk@orm­skirkad­ver­tiser.co.uk @Visiter

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.”

Si­mon Dob­bin with his wife, Ni­cole, out­side Basil­don Crown Court

Si­mon was “a fun-lov­ing fam­ily man” be­fore the at­tack

Si­mon and Ni­cole with daugh­ter Emily at a char­ity foot­ball game

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.