DETECTIVES have made a link between a brutal attack by football hooligans on a fan and his death five years later.
Simon Dobbin, 48, was “kicked like a football” and repeatedly stamped on after going to watch his side Cambridge United play against Southend United in Essex in March 2015.
The dad-of-three was set upon by the gang of thugs and was left with permanent brain damage and was unable to walk or talk following the 90-second assault.
Mr Dobbin, of Mildenhall, Suffolk, died in October last year aged 48 with his wife Nicola saying the thugs who attacked him "got what they wanted".
Essex Police today revealed that a post-mortem examination has identified a "causal link" between the attack and Mr Dobbin's death.
Detectives are now investigating to see whether they can "directly and evidently show who was responsible for his death".
Thirteen men were convicted in 2017 of their involvement in the attack, and 12 of them were handed jail terms totalling more than 42 years.
'RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS DEATH'
Acting Detective Superintendent Stephen Jennings, from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: "We have received the final report following the post-mortem examination and it shows pathologically there was a causal link between the assault Simon was subjected to, and his death.
"We will now carry out an investigation to see if we can directly and evidentially show who was responsible for his death.
"I know Simon's story has touched the lives of many people and we are supporting his family.
"My thoughts are with his friends and loved ones."
Speaking at the time of his death, Simon’s heartbroken wife Nicole told the Southend Echo: "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.”
In 2017, Simon and his family touched the nation's heart on BBC show DIY SOS as a team of volunteers transformed his home to help meet his needs.
DIY SOS presenter Nick Knowles paid tribute to the Cambridge United football fan in a tweet in the wake of the tragedy.
He wrote: "Very sad news. His family put everything aside to care for him. Our sympathies are with them."
The tragic news was announced by Cambridge United, who said Simon had passed away at home yesterday morning.
The club said: "It is with a heavy heart that Cambridge United can confirm we have received the devastating news that Simon Dobbin sadly passed away at home this morning.
"Sweet dreams Simon. Forever a U."
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