Simon Dobbin death: Police offer £20,000 reward in murder investigation

  • Watch a report by Hannah Pettifer

The wife of a football fan who died five years after being attacked has appealed for witnesses to come forward - saying the manner of his death meant his family had "lost him all over again".

Simon Dobbin, a Cambridge United supporter, was was left with permanent brain damage when he was assaulted after a Southend United vs Cambridge United match on 21 March 2015, and died in October 2020.

Speaking as Essex Police and Crimestoppers unveiled a £20,000 reward for information leading to a homicide conviction, Mr Dobbin's widow Nicole said the attack had changed the family's lives forever.

"In 2015, we lost a husband and a father as well as a best friend. The community also lost a kind and loving soul," she said.

"Since that day, our lives were never the same. To see such a strong and independent man to be beaten to the point where he was no longer able to take care of himself, communicate his own needs and miss out on so much was devastating."

She said her husband had experienced "pain and suffering daily" from the moment he came out of his coma.

"The doctors told us that he would inevitably die from his injuries," she said. "When he did die, we lost him all over again, this time forever, and we now grieve him all over again while the individuals who planned and carried out this attack walk free.

"They're left to live their lives however they wish without a second thought for any of us."

He spent a year in hospital after being hit and stamped on repeatedly, and could not walk or talk following the attack.

Mr Dobbin died in October 2020 at his home in Mildenhall and, after a post-mortem examination and inquest this year, Essex Police said a causal link had been found between the attack and his death.

Simon Dobbin and his wife Nicole at home Credit: ITV Anglia

Essex Police and the charity Crimestoppers today unveiled the reward, which is offered for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of anyone responsible for Mr Dobbin's death.

In 2017, 13 people were convicted and sentenced in connection with the violent disorder in which Mr Dobbin was injured, and 12 of them were handed jail terms totalling more than 42 years.

Since Mr Dobbin's death at the age of 48 last year, Essex Police have been re-investigating and treating his death as a homicide - a term which covers both murder and manslaughter charges.

The reward fund is being split jointly between Crimestoppers and Essex Police.

Det Supt Steve Jennings said: "What we were missing then, and what we need now, is who was physically responsible for assaulting Simon."

He appealed for information from "anyone that can provide information - but particularly evidence that can help our investigation progress to the point where we can potentially bring those people to justice".

The family also featured in an episode of the BBC makeover show DIY SOS, in which the family's house was adapted to make it suitable for Mr Dobbin to use.

Crowds lined the streets of MIldenhall on the day of his funeral, prompting rounds of applause as his cortege passed through the town.