Cambridge United fan was injured in carefully prepared ambush, court told

A gang of 12 men attacked a football fan after a match in a "carefully prepared ambush" that left him with permanent brain damage, a court has heard.

Cambridge United fan Simon Dobbin suffered massive injuries and still cannot walk or talk after he was attacked as he walked to Prittlewell station in Southend following his team's 0-0 away draw with Southend United, Basildon Crown Court heard.

Andrew Jackson, prosecuting, said Mr Dobbin was among a group of Cambridge fans who had stayed for a post-match drink in the Blue Boar, the designated pub for away supporters.

The court heard that a group, looking to attack any Cambridge fans in "revenge" for an earlier fight, had scouted out potential targets in the Blue Boar then waited in the Railway Tavern, the designated pub for home supporters, to stage an ambush.

The Railway Tavern is between the Blue Boar and the station.

Mr Jackson said one of the "scouting group" stayed in the Blue Boar and used his phone to alert the others when the Cambridge fans left for the station, then followed them.

The Cambridge fans were attacked as they walked past the Railway Tavern.

"It was a carefully prepared ambush," Mr Jackson told Tuesday's hearing.

He described it as a "ferocious attack" which lasted up to 90 seconds, and said bottles and glasses were thrown.

"One of the Cambridge supporters, Simon Dobbin, was hit and stamped upon repeatedly and he sustained massive brain injuries as a result of it," he said.

Mr Dobbin was 41 when he was attacked at around 7.15pm on March 21 2015.

Mr Jackson said the group of Cambridge fans was split in two when some of them took a wrong turn, and Mr Dobbin was in the smaller group that was "at the mercy" of the defendants.

"The prosecution case is that none of these defendants had any interest that day in enjoying watching a football match," said Mr Jackson. "Their only interest lay in causing terrible and frightening violence."

He said most of them spent the afternoon drinking in the Railway Tavern and planning the attack as revenge for an earlier fight involving a separate group of Cambridge fans in another pub.

Mr Jackson said one defendant wrote in a text: "Going to kick off after the game. We're going to ambush them."

Mr Jackson added: "The prosecution say these defendants were indiscriminate as to which Cambridge United fans they targeted as long as they could be identified as Cambridge United fans."

Twelve men from Essex are charged with violent disorder. They are Greg Allen, 29, of Western Avenue, Westcliff; Ryan Carter, 21, of York Road, Southend; Jamie Chambers, 24, of Coleman Street, Southend; Lewis Courtnell, 34, of Stadium Road, Southend; Phil McGill, 32, of Hornby Avenue, Westcliff; Scott Nicholls, 40, of Little Spenders, Basildon; Matthew Petchey, 26, of Lascelles Gardens, Rochford; Rhys Pullen, 21, of Bridge Road, Wickford; Thomas Randall, 22, of Seaforth Avenue, Southend, Michael Shawyer, 31, of Belgrave Road, Leigh-on-Sea; Alexander Woods, 25, of Fairmead Avenue, Westcliff; and James Woods, 25, of Fairmead Avenue, Westcliff.

Pullen admits violent disorder and the other 11 defendants have pleaded not guilty.

The prosecution say a 13th defendant, Ian Young, 41, of Brightwell Avenue, Westcliff, remained inside the Railway Tavern at the time of the attack. He denies assisting a criminal offender by hiding them while police were conducting a search.

All 13 defendants deny conspiracy to commit violent disorder.

The trial continues.

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