Suffolk

Cambridge United fan Simon Dobbin returns home after attack

Simon Dobbin Image copyright Nicole Dobbin
Image caption Cambridge United fan Simon Dobbin, pictured with his daughter Emily, has spent a year in hospital after the attack in Southend

A football fan who was brain damaged during an attack after a match has returned home, a year after the incident.

Cambridge United supporter Simon Dobbin, 43, had been in hospital since the fracas in Southend last March.

His wife Nicole said she was "really excited" to have him back at their house in Mildenhall, Suffolk.

He is still unable to talk, walk or eat solid food, but it is hoped he will make further progress at home.

Mr Dobbin was attacked outside The Railway pub while on the way home from Southend's Roots Hall stadium on 21 March.

Essex Police arrested a total of 17 men on suspicion of assault or violent disorder following the attack. The Crown Prosecution Service is still considering if charges are to be brought against 13 people.

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Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Simon Dobbin (pictured centre) was put into a medically-induced coma following the attack

Mrs Dobbin said: "It was a year ago he walked out of the house and now it's a year later he's coming back and I'm just so excited.

"He has still got a long road ahead of him but I'm just hoping that when he comes home he'll make better progress."

His face "lit up" when she told him he was going home, Mrs Dobbin added.

Mrs Dobbin and their 17-year-old daughter Emily have spent the last year travelling to see him in hospital in Norwich.

"It seems like the last year has gone really quickly but it didn't at the time," she said.

Image caption Nicole and Emily Dobbin have taken delivery of a special bed at their Mildenhall home

He is aware of who they are and "was saying a few words a few months ago" but now cannot communicate apart from to say "yes", she added.

A hospital bed, a reclining chair and a hoist have all been installed at their home but they need to make further changes, she said.

She said the family could get up to £30,000 of state support to make the changes, but needed to raise an extra £20,000 on top of that.

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