The wife of a football fan who died five years after an attack says the hooligans “got what they wanted”.
Cambridge United fan Simon Dobbin, who featured on BBC’s home improvement show DIY SOS, died on Wednesday morning, the football club confirmed.
Now his wife Nicole, who was also his full-time carer, has spoken out saying her husband’s heart “just gave up”.
Simon was left with permanent brain damage and unable to walk or talk following the assault on March 2015.
Speaking to the Southend Echo, heartbroken Nicole said: “The attackers have got what they wanted. He’s gone now.
“They destroyed his life and ours. He was 48, he should have been in the prime of his life.
“I just can’t believe it. I’m just feeling so numb, I don’t think it’s sunk in yet.”
Nicole described how her husband was laughing with her the night before his death – adding that she knew something was wrong when he didn’t wake her in the middle of the night like he usually does.
She described the moment she walked into his room to give him some medication and found him “gone”.
Thirteen men were convicted following the savage attack on Mr Dobbin.
Nicole hopes that the death of her husband will get back to his attackers whose callous actions in those 90 seconds on that fateful day changed Simon and his family’s lives forever.
“I hope that this news gets out to them and plays on their heart strings,” she said.
“It’s been difficult. I have had a lot of support from friends and family but to know that they [the attackers] are all out now, it’s like they got on with their lives and get to forget about Simon and not give him thought.
“They left us with the aftermath of this. Just looking at him you would think about it and visualise them stamping on his head for 90 seconds.
“They didn’t just destroy Simon’s life, but they destroyed our lives as well.
“I lost the man I married. He was trapped in that body and suffered many health issues.”
The death has devastated Simon’s daughter Emily, who adored her father, Nicole said.
Emily had come back home from her placement with the London Ambulance Service, so was there when her dad passed away.
“She was here to be able to see her dad,” she said. “It’s obviously destroyed her, she was very much a daddy’s girl.
“One time, she had a house party and I went crazy but he bought her a Liverpool t-shirt and I thought ‘you are rewarding her?’
“But that’s just who he was.
“From a baby, there are photos of her in her dad’s arms both with shaving foam on their faces because she wanted to do whatever her dad did.”