Suffolk

Simon Dobbin attack: Thirteen men convicted over football fan assault

Simon, Emily and Nicole Dobbin Image copyright Family Photo
Image caption Simon Dobbin, with his daughter Emily (left) and wife Nicole, was attacked by rival football fans

Thirteen men have been convicted for a "ferocious attack" which left a football fan permanently brain damaged.

Cambridge United supporter Simon Dobbin has been unable to walk or talk since the attack in Southend in March 2015.

Basildon Crown Court heard the group of Southend United supporters had planned to "ambush" rival fans.

Nine men were guilty of violent disorder, three of conspiracy to commit violent disorder and one of assisting an offender.

Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption Top row (l to r) Alexander Woods, Greg Allen, Ian Young, James Woods, Jamie Chambers, Lewis Courtnell. Bottom row (l-to r) Matthew Petchey, Michael Shawyer, Philip McGill, Rhys Pullen, Ryan Carter, Scott Nicholls and Thomas Randall

All 13 have been remanded in custody ahead of sentencing on Monday, which Mr Dobbin is expected to attend.

Speaking outside the court, the victim's wife Nicole Dobbin said: "Justice has been served for Simon.

"Two-and-a-half years we've waited for this result and so I'm over the moon - finally someone is paying for what they've done to my husband.

"He'll never be the same again but we can move forward from this."

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Media captionSimon Dobbin: Ferocious attack left fan unable to walk or talk
Image caption Nicole Dobbin said she was delighted that "justice has been served" for her husband

During the trial, Andrew Jackson, prosecuting, said Mr Dobbin was with a group of Cambridge fans who went for a drink in the Blue Boar pub after a 0-0 draw with Southend.

The court was told the defendants scouted out potential targets and attacked them as they walked past The Railway pub on their way to Prittlewell train station.

"It was a carefully prepared ambush," Mr Jackson told the court.

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Media captionFurious scenes erupted outside court after the verdicts were returned

He described it as a "ferocious attack" which lasted up to 90 seconds, and said bottles and glasses were thrown.

"Simon Dobbin was hit and stamped upon repeatedly and he sustained massive brain injuries as a result of it," he added.

One of the attackers had a hooligan "calling card" stuck to his telephone which read: "Congratulations. You've just met the CS Crew (Southend United) First we take your life, then we take your wife".

Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption One of the men found guilty had this label on his mobile telephone
Image caption Prosecutors say the defendants waited in The Railway before attacking the Cambridge fans

Douglas Mackay from the Crown Prosecution Service said: "These men set out on that Saturday with the intention of getting involved in the most horrific violence.

"Their victims were chosen at random and were entirely innocent.

"The jury agreed with the prosecution that each of these men played an active part in planning or carrying out this shocking attack.

"Mr Dobbin and his family have been through an unimaginable ordeal. I can only hope these verdicts bring some sense of justice for them."

Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Simon Dobbin (pictured centre) was put into a medically-induced coma

Eight men were found guilty of violent disorder, alongside Rhys Pullen, 21, of Wickford, who had already admitted the charge. They are:

  • 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
  • James Woods, 25, of Fairmead Avenue, Westcliff

Three men were found guilty of conspiracy to commit violent disorder but not guilty of violent disorder:

  • Greg Allen, 29, of Western Avenue, Westcliff
  • Phil McGill, 32, of Hornby Avenue, Westcliff
  • Michael Shawyer, 31, of Belgrave Road, Leigh-on-Sea

Ian Young, 41, of Brightwell Avenue, Westcliff was found guilty of assisting an offender by hiding the group while police were conducting a search - but not guilty of conspiracy to commit violent disorder.

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