Thugs involved in Simon Dobbin attack could face harsher punishments after wife’s plea
A gang of thugs who were convicted for their role in a ‘ferocious attack’ that left a Mildenhall man permanently brain damaged could face having their punishments increased following a plea from the victim’s wife.
The Attorney General’s Office is taking forward a request from the wife of Simon Dobbin to increase the sentences given to 12 men, who were branded a ‘pack of animals’ by police for their involvement in the assault in Southend.
After a year in hospital and rehabilitation, Simon, 45, needs 24-hour care and is unable to walk or talk.
His wife Nicole, 46, said it was ‘fantastic someone was taking notice’ having written to the Attorney General Jeremy Wright, the Prime Minister, West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock, the Lord Speaker and the Leader of the House of Commons.
In her letter, she said: “The justice system in our country has completely and utterly let us down.”
Nicole is calling for a change in the law to allow harsher punishments for such crimes including sentences of at least 10 years for violent disorder. The maximum sentence is currently five years.
She has created a petition, which has been signed by more than 1,100 people.
Nicole said: “By increasing the sentence this will deter others from joining in such a ferocious attack. I’m disgusted that the maximum sentence is five years. These thugs will serve half their sentences then be let out to serve the remainder of this at home. We’ve already served two and a half years but still have a life time. Where is the justice in this?”
About 24 people set upon Simon and his friends following a football match between Cambridge and Southend United on March 21, 2015.
After a two year police investigation, eight men were found guilty of violent disorder, alongside Rhys Pullen, 21, of Bridge Road, Wickford, who admitted the charge. He was handed a 16-month jail term.
The others were: Ryan Carter, 21 (five years’ imprisonment); Jamie Chambers, 24, of Southend (four years); Lewis Courtnell, 34, of Southend (three-and-a-half years); Scott Nicholls, 40, of Basildon (three-and-a-half years); Matthew Petchey, 26, of Rochford (three-and-a-half years); Thomas Randall, 22, of Southend (five years); Alexander Woods, 25, of Westcliff (five years), and James Woods, 25, of Westcliff (three years).
Three men were found guilty of conspiracy to commit violent disorder. They were Greg Allen, 29, of Westcliff (three years); Phil McGill, 32, of Westcliff (three years) and Michael Shawyer, 32, of Leigh-on-Sea (two-and-a-half years).
Ian Young, 41, of Brightwell Avenue, Westcliff, was found guilty of assisting an offender and admitted a charge of possession of pepper spray. He received an 18 month suspended sentence.
In her letter, Nicole said 12 of the men should have their sentences increased but Pullen’s should be suspended as he was ‘truly remorseful and the only one to admit his guilt’.
A spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office said they will be responding to Nicole fully in due course.
They confirmed they are taking forward the request to increase the sentences of the men under the unduly lenient sentence scheme and law officers have 28 days from sentencing to consider the case.
A sentence can only be regarded as unduly lenient if there has been a ‘gross error and it is significantly below the level that any judge could have reasonably imposed’.