Accused kicked player in head ‘like a football’

Shaun Woodburn
Shaun Woodburn
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Hibs player Danny Swanson has told a murder trial that his friend’s head was “kicked like a football” as he lay motionless on the ground.

The football star was giving evidence at the High Court in Dunfermline where three teenagers are accused of murdering young father Shaun Woodburn.

The 30-year-old junior football player died from injuries suffered in a major street disturbance outside a Leith bar in the early hours of New Year’s Day.

The three youths are also accused of a series of assaults and disorder across Edinburgh the same night.

In the dock are Mohammed Zakariyah, 18, of Gilmerton Dykes Grove, Edinburgh, Marcus Brown, 18, of Birchwood View, Edinburgh and a 17-year-old who cannot be named for legal reasons. They deny all the charges.

Just before 2am trouble broke out in the street outside Gladstones Bar, where Mr Swanson and Mr Woodburn were at a New Year party.

Mr Swanson, 30, described in court the incident which resulted in his friend’s death, as a group of youths clashed with customers from the pub.

“As I turned, I saw Shaun getting punched and falling backwards. He was motionless. Then the person who had punched him ran and kicked him on the side of the head. He kicked him like he was kicking a football.

“Did he connect with the kick?” asked advocate-depute Tim Niven-Smith.

“Yes, 100 per cent. He connected with the left side of this head,” said Mr Swanson. “Shaun had fallen backwards and was on his back when he was kicked.”

Mr Swanson identified the 17-year-old as the person who punched and kicked Mr Woodburn.

The witness told the court he went to his friend’s aid. “He was unconscious. His eyes were closed and he wasn’t answering me when I was speaking to him.

“I held his head and there was blood coming from the back of it.”

The footballer said his recollection of the punch and kick was “crystal clear”.

Mr Swanson had been at his father’s pub for the New Year celebrations but was not drinking.

He drove to the hospital after Mr Woodburn was taken there by ambulance.

“I was told he wasn’t going to make but he was still being kept alive at that time,” he told the court.

Mr Swanson said the incident began after his father John, co-owner of Gladstones, was punched by someone in the group of youths outside the bar.

Mr Swanson will continue his evidence when the trial resumes on Friday.