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Five men arrested on suspicion of murdering football fan on his way home from game

Five men have been arrested on suspicion of murdering a football fan on his way home from a game in Southend in March 2015.

Cambridge United fan, Simon Dobbin, was left with permanent brain damage after being attacked after leaving a game on the 21st of March, 2015, unable to walk or talk and required round-the-clock care.

Sadly, he died at the age of 48 on the 21st of October, 2020 at home in Mildenhall, Suffolk.

Medical tests showed a direct link between Dobbin’s death and the injuries he sustained, Essex Police said.

The five suspects, aged 27, 30, 34, 39 and 45, were arrested on Friday morning at addresses across the south of the county, held in custody and will be questioned on suspicion of murder.

Detective Superintendent Stephen Jennings, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, who is leading the investigation said: “Investigations into Simon’s death showed a direct, causal link to the injuries he sustained in Southend on the day he was attacked in March 2015.

“As a result of those findings, we began treating Simon’s death as a homicide and a new investigation was launched.

“As part of that investigation, this morning we have arrested five people on suspicion of murder.

“We are also speaking to a number of people who we are considering as witnesses in order to gather their accounts.”

Cambridge United paid tribute to Mr Dobbin after his death was announced – tweeting how the League One club was thinking of his wife, Nicole, daughter, Emily, and close family and friends at a tough time .

Mrs Dobbin described her husband as her “gentle giant” who “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.”

In total, 13 people were convicted and sentenced in connection with the incident in March 2015.

Some may recall Simon Dobbin appeared on an episode of programme DIY SOS in January 2019, when presenter Nick Knowles paid tribute to his family who “put everything aside to care for him”.

This tribute was written with the assistance of Cambridge United’s former Chaplain Stuart Wood, whose friendship with Simon and the Dobbin family over recent years ensured he remained a big part of our Football Club and the Cambridge United family.

“No one can ever fully appreciate the love, support, care and assistance that his wife Nicole, daughter Emily, friends and family gave Simon during recent years following the tragic incident in March 2015 that changed his life forever. It is to them that we send our most sincere thoughts, deepest condolences and all of our love at this time, and share with them in their loss.

“Simon was a season ticket holder for many years who followed the Club both home and away. He really enjoyed his football, sharing his support between both Cambridge United and Liverpool. Simon’s enjoyment of following the U’s was far more than the ninety minutes. It was about sharing the social side of match days, on terraces up and down the country alongside close friends and the rest of the Amber Army.

“His first visit back to the Abbey Stadium following the tragic incident was as poignant a moment as the Abbey has ever and may ever experience again, with banners expressing the fans’ support and love for one of our own. Simon rightly lapped up the applause of everyone in the ground from both home and visiting supporters that day. His huge smile lit up the Abbey – his wife Nicole commenting on how loved being the centre of attention.

“Simon made further visits to the ground and always enjoyed being a part of the matchday experience.

“He will be remembered fondly by the entire family of Cambridge United FC. Rest peacefully Dobbo.”

Following the attack, Nicole, said: “On March 21, 2015 my life was turned upside down.

“My husband 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.”

Nicole and Simon had been planning to go to Australia for their 20th wedding anniversary – a trip they were never able to take.

Five men arrested on suspicion of murdering football fan on his way home from game

After the attack, nine men were guilty of violent disorder, three of conspiracy to commit violent disorder and one of assisting an offender.

Three of the men were jailed for five years for violent disorder, with the offence carrying a maximum term of five years in prison.

In February 2020, Simon’s wife, Nicole, told media outlets how she was shocked at some of the men had already been released.

She said: “It feels like a slap in the face. They are monsters. They didn’t give any consideration to what they were doing.

“They didn’t care what impact they’d had on somebody else’s life and now it’s like ‘I’ve done my time. I can forget about this, now move on.’

“We don’t have that luxury. We have to continue to fight every day. They only served half of their sentence.”

12 men were convicted in relation to the attack
12 men were convicted in relation to the attack
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