Southend football fans jailed for Simon Dobbin attack
A group of football hooligans described as "a pack of animals" has been jailed over an attack which left a football fan unable to walk or speak.
Simon Dobbin, from Suffolk, was left brain damaged after the assault in Southend, Essex, in March 2015.
Three of the 12 men sentenced at Basildon Crown Court were jailed for five years for violent disorder.
Mr Dobbin's wife told the court her husband had been given a life sentence through the group's actions.
He spent a year in hospital as a result of the attack which happened after his team, Cambridge United, played at Southend United's ground Roots Hall.
Mr Dobbin was in court for sentencing - the first time he had come face-to-face with his attackers - but had to leave when he became upset.
Det Ch Insp Martin Pasmore, who led the investigation into the attack, said the men were like a "pack of animals".
He said: "These are individuals that are mainly spending their time in pubs and drinking and looking for the opportunity to have fights with other so-called football fans/hooligans."
The detective also said accusations that Mr Dobbin had been ejected from the stadium on the day he was attacked were "absolute nonsense".
"Let me be clear, Simon Dobbin is a thoroughly decent man," he added.
"He was not involved in any form of disturbance and was not ejected from the match or any other establishment.
"He is an entirely innocent victim of an unprovoked savage attack which left him with a permanent and devastating brain injury."
In a victim impact statement, wife Nicole Dobbin said she "hates what these violent thugs have done to us".
The offence of committing violent disorder carries a maximum term of five years in prison. The shortest sentence - 16 months - was given to Rhys Pullen, who pleaded guilty to the charge earlier in proceedings.
Eight men were found guilty of violent disorder, while Rhys Pullen admitted the charge. They were sentenced to the following:
- Five years for Ryan Carter, 21, of York Road, Southend
- Four years for Jamie Chambers, 24, of Coleman Street, Southend
- Three-and-a-half years for Lewis Courtnell, 34, of Stadium Road, Southend
- Three-and-a-half years for Scott Nicholls, 40, of Little Spenders, Basildon
- Three-and-a-half years for Matthew Petchey, 26, of Lascelles Gardens, Rochford
- Sixteen months for Rhys Pullen, 21, of Wickford
- Five years for Thomas Randall, 22, of Seaforth Avenue, Southend
- Five years for Alexander Woods, 25, of Fairmead Avenue, Westcliff
- Three years for James Woods, 25, of Fairmead Avenue, Westcliff
Three men were jailed for conspiracy to commit violent disorder:
- Three years for Greg Allen, 29, of Western Avenue, Westcliff
- Three years for Phil McGill, 32, of Hornby Avenue, Westcliff
- Two-and-half-years for Michael Shawyer, 31, of Belgrave Road, Leigh-on-Sea
All of the men were given a 10-year football banning order.
Ian Young, 41, of Brightwell Avenue, Westcliff was found guilty of assisting an offender by hiding the group while police were conducting a search. He will be sentenced next month.