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Twelve men jailed over attack which left Suffolk’s Simon Dobbin with brain damage after Southend vs Cambridge match

PUBLISHED: 18:51 17 July 2017 | UPDATED: 11:46 18 July 2017

Offenders in the Simon Dobbin attack. Top, from left Alexander Woods, Greg Allen, Ian Young, James Woods, Jamie Chambers, Lewis Courtnell, Matthew Petchey. Bottom from left, Michael Shawyer, Philip McGill, Rhys Pullen, Ryan Carter, Scott Nicholls and Thomas Randell. Picture: ESSEX POLICE

Offenders in the Simon Dobbin attack. Top, from left Alexander Woods, Greg Allen, Ian Young, James Woods, Jamie Chambers, Lewis Courtnell, Matthew Petchey. Bottom from left, Michael Shawyer, Philip McGill, Rhys Pullen, Ryan Carter, Scott Nicholls and Thomas Randell. Picture: ESSEX POLICE

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Twelve men have today received jail sentences totalling 42 years and four months for their parts in an attack which left Mildenhall man Simon Dobbin with catastrophic life-changing injuries.

Around 25 people set upon Cambridge United fan Mr Dobbin, now 45, and his friends following a match between Cambridge and Southend United on March 21, 2015.

Mr Dobbin’s injuries were so severe he was ‘clinically dead’ for seven minutes before his life was saved.

The convicted men were described by police as acting like a pack of animals.

A Basildon Crown Court jury heard Mr Dobbin and his friends had gone to the afternoon’s football game and then spent the evening at the Blue Boar pub, where they watched the televised England vs France rugby match.

Simon Dobbin with his wife Nicole. Simon Dobbin with his wife Nicole.

But when a group of men went in looking for Cambridge supporters, they decided to head home, fearing they would be targeted.

When they reached Prittlewell train station, Mr Dobbin and some of his friends became separated from the rest of the group when they took a wrong turning.

As they passed The Railway Tavern at around 7.15pm to reach the London-bound platform, a large group of men came out of the pub and set upon them in East Street.

Mr Dobbin was knocked unconscious and suffered injuries which have left him brain damaged and needing round-the-clock care.

He was put in an induced coma and spent four months in Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, followed by eight months in rehabilitation.

He returned home to Mildenhall in March 2016 but needs 24-hour care and has been left unable to walk or talk.

Neither Mr Dobbin nor his friends were involved in any of the violent incidents earlier in the day – they were among the vast majority of genuine football fans who had been in Southend to enjoy the match.

Twelve men were charged with violent disorder and conspiracy to commit violent disorder on Friday.

Another was charged with conspiracy to commit violent disorder and assisting an offender.

They were:

• Greg Allen, 29, a painter, of Wellington Avenue, Westcliff, found guilty of conspiracy to commit violent disorder. He was jailed for three years.

• Lewis Courtnell, 34, a fence installer, of Stadium Road, Southend, found guilty of violent disorder and jailed for three-and-a-half years.

• Jamie Chambers, 24, a removals operative, of Southchurch Avenue, Southend, found guilty of violent disorder and imprisoned for four years.

• Thomas Randall, 22, a consumer credit employee, of Seaforth Avenue, Southend, found guilty of violent disorder and sentenced to five years in prison.

• Michael Shawyer, 32, a tiler, of Belgrave Road, Leigh-on-Sea, found guilty of conspiracy to commit violent disorder. He was jailed for two-and-a-half years.

• Matthew Petchey, 26, unemployed, formerly of Lascelles Gardens, Rochford, found guilty of violent disorder and imprisoned for three-and-a-half years.

• Twins Alexander Woods and James Woods, a chef, both 25 and of Fairmead Avenue, Westcliff, both found guilty of violent disorder. Alexander Woods was sentenced to five years in prison and James Wood for three years.

• Philip McGill, 32, an electrician, of Hornby Avenue, Westcliff, found guilty of conspiracy to commit violent disorder and jailed for three years.

• Rhys Pullen, 21, a telecommunications engineer of Bridge Road, Wickford previously admitted the charge of violent disorder. He was sentenced to 16 months in prison.

• Scott Nicholls, 40, a construction worker, of Little Spenders, Basildon, found guilty of violent disorder and jailed for three-and-half years.

• Ryan Carter, 21, unemployed, of no fixed address, found guilty of violent disorder and sentenced to five years in prison.

• Ian Young, 41, an electrician, of Brightwell Avenue, Westcliff, was found guilty of assisting an offender. He will be sentenced on August 2.

Every defendant was also handed a football banning order for 10 years.

Judge David Pugh said: “It’s difficult to envisage a more serious case of violent disorder given the consequences to Mr Dobbin and his family.”

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