Suffolk

Cambridge Utd brain-damaged fan: Family's new law petition gets 26,000 signatures

Simon Dobbin and his wife Nicole pitchside at the Cambridge United and Southend United match.
Image caption Simon Dobbin is unable to walk or talk following his attack

A petition calling for violent offenders to contribute to the cost of NHS care for their victims has raised 26,000 signatures within a month.

Cambridge Utd fan Simon Dobbin, 47, was brain-damaged when he was attacked after a match at Southend Utd's ground in 2015.

His family wants a change in the law and increased sentencing powers.

They said "Simon's Law" would be "a constant reminder" for the 12 men jailed for their role in the attack.

The attack, near Southend's Roots Hall ground, left Mr Dobbin dependent on "round-the-clock" care and unable to walk or talk.

The trial heard he was "stomped on repeatedly" during what was described as an unprovoked attack that lasted 90 seconds.

The longest sentences were given to three of the men who were jailed for five years for violent disorder.

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Media captionSimon Dobbin: DIY SOS helps injured football fan

He spent a year in hospital before being discharged back to his home in Mildenhall, which had to be redesigned and fitted with specialist equipment with help from the BBC's DIY SOS team.

His wife Nicole Dobbin estimates the cost of her husband's care has "run into hundreds of thousands of pounds".

"There is no deterrent for any sort of violent disorder," she said.

"Society pays for these people in prison and their rehabilitation.

"What they did will not have cost them as much as a thought. They can get on with a normal life. It's so unfair."

Image caption Mr Dobbin was described as a devoted Cambridge United fan

The aim is to force lifelong payments to the NHS by people convicted of violent disorder.

Mrs Dobbin said: "Simon's Law will state that if an individual is found guilty of a violent public disorder, then a percentage of earnings through employment or benefits are taken from them and paid back to our NHS for the rest of their lives.

"Hopefully this will be a deterrent."

The petition needs 100,000 signatures to be considered by Parliament.

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