£20,000 appeal after hooligans beat football fan to death on way home from game

·Freelance Writer
·3-min read
Simon Dobbin died five years after he was attacked while walking home from a football match. (Essex Police)
Simon Dobbin died five years after he was attacked while walking home from a football match. (Essex Police)

The widow of football fan Simon Dobbin has said she wants justice as police announced a £20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those directly responsible for his death.

Cambridge United supporter Mr Dobbin was set upon as he walked to the railway station following his team’s 0-0 away draw against Southend United on 21 March 2015.

He was left unable to walk or talk and died at home in Mildenhall, Suffolk, on 21 October, 2020, at the age of 48.

Essex Police said a post-mortem examination indicated a “causal link” between the attack and Mr Dobbin’s death, from complications from a brain injury.

The force is treating his death as a homicide, either murder or manslaughter, and has announced a reward of up to £20,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person, or people, directly responsible for Mr Dobbin’s death.

Simon Dobbin died at home in Mildenhall, Suffolk, on 21 October, 2020, at the age of 48. (SWNS)
Simon Dobbin died at home in Mildenhall, Suffolk, on 21 October, 2020, at the age of 48. (SWNS)

Crimestoppers has put up £10,000, which Essex Police is match-funding.

Thirteen men were convicted in 2017 for their involvement in the attack, and 12 of them were handed jail terms totalling more than 42 years.

Mr Dobbin’s widow, Nicole, 50, said: “We have had over five of the most horrendous years and we now grieve all over again whilst the individuals who planned and carried out this attack walk free, left to live their lives however they wish without a second thought for any of us.

“Simon was 48 years old with so much to look forward to.

“Now he won’t be able to grow old with me or watch his daughter get married and his grandchildren grow up.

“All these beautiful memories we could have made, stolen from us.”

Nicole Dobbin (right), the widow of Simon Dobbin, speaking at an Essex Police press conference, alongside their daughter, Emily Dobbin. (PA)
Nicole Dobbin (right), the widow of Simon Dobbin, speaking at an Essex Police press conference, alongside their daughter, Emily Dobbin. (PA)

Speaking at a police press conference, alongside their daughter, Emily Dobbin, 22, she added: “We just want the justice for Simon.

“Somebody’s got to pay for what they’ve done because we’ve suffered as a family.

“We’ve lost a great person and if somebody is charged or found guilty, hopefully it will help deter people from getting involved in such hideous crimes.

“People shouldn’t go to a football match and not come home the same person.

“They should have enjoyed their day but it was destroyed.”

A £20,000 reward has been offered for information surrounding Simon Dobbin's death. (Essex Police)
A £20,000 reward has been offered for information surrounding Simon Dobbin's death. (Essex Police)

She said she hopes that at least one of those convicted in the 2017 trial will come forward with information.

Asked if she had a direct message for them, she said: “Think about how your family would feel if it was you that was attacked and they were going through exactly what we went through.

“Come forward, you’ve got nothing to lose.

“Be the bigger person because I certainly wouldn’t take the blame for anyone else.”

Lead investigator, Detective Superintendent Stephen Jennings, said he believes that “some of those involved, of those 13, were responsible for the assault on Simon”.

Simon Dobbin was set upon as he walked to the railway station following his team’s 0-0 away draw against Southend United in 2015. (SWNS)
Simon Dobbin was set upon as he walked to the railway station following his team’s 0-0 away draw against Southend United in 2015. (SWNS)

Appealing for information, he said: “A lot has changed in six years.

“A number of the 13 that were convicted of public order offences were quite young at the time and have now grown up, probably have families themselves.

“So I do appeal to them to come forward if they’ve got any information.”

He said officers will be approaching the 13 people who were convicted as part of their homicide investigation.

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