Wife appalled that husband's attackers are out of jail

Nicole and Simon Dobbin at home in Mildenhall in Suffolk. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The wife of a football fan left severely brain damaged after being attacked by a gang of thugs says she is appalled that most of them have already been freed from jail.

Nicole Dobbin's husband Simon was attacked after going to watch a Cambridge United game in Southend in 2015. It left him unable to walk or talk

  • Click below for Russell Hookey's report

Celebrating their 21st wedding anniversary, Nicole and Simon Dobbin from Mildenhall in Suffolk could never have imagined how the violent actions of others would devastate their lives.

Cambridge United fan Simon was left severely brain damaged after he was beaten within an inch of his life by thugs at an away game in Southend in 2015.

Those responsible were bought to justice in July 2017 but Nicole is shocked the majority have already served their sentence.

Nicole Dobbin said: "Ten of the 12 have already been released. The two that are remaining in prison were the ones who got the longest sentences obviously.

"One of them served four months. I felt physically sick because I was notified by the probation officer beforehand and I just felt sick that their lives are going to continue, ours are going to be the way they are now."

Reporter Russell Hookey speaks to Nicole and Simon Dobbin. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Four years on and Simon still needs round the clock care. He will do for the rest of his life.

“We just have to get on with the life that we’ve been given now," said Nicole.

"Obviously it’s not the life we planned together, but when you take your wedding vows you take them seriously so in sickness and in health I’ve got Simon now the way he is and I’ll just continue to look after him.

"We’ll make plans for the future the way he is now."

The couple's daughter Emily was 16 when Simon was attacked. She’s grateful to the ambulance crew who helped save her Dad's life she decided to become a paramedic

“She’s come so far," said her Mum Nicole. "At the time her Dad was being attacked she was doing her GCSEs and she managed to get the grades she needed to be able to go to university.

"She’s worked really really hard and we’re just so proud of her.”

The family's story was told once again on the BBC’s DIY SOS programme. Hundreds of people helped adapt Simon and Nicole's home to make caring for him easier.