Mum of Shaun Woodburn speaks of relief after killer found guilty

THE grieving mum of tragic footballer Shaun Woodburn has spoken of her relief at his killer being found guilty but said nothing will bring back her son.

Friday, 13th October 2017, 8:29 am
Updated Monday, 11th December 2017, 11:09 pm
Shaun Woodburn. Picture: contributed

Denise Syme spoke after the 17-year-old, who had been charged with Shaun’s murder, was convicted of the lesser charge of culpable homicide following a trial at the High Court in Dunfermline.

The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was a 16-year-old schoolboy when he delivered the fatal blow outside a Leith pub at the end of a violent Hogmanay rampage across the Capital.

Mrs Syme, who found the 17-day trial too upsetting to attend, told the Evening News: “I’m just glad it’s all over as reliving Shaun’s death all over again has been a nightmare for all of the family.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“I’m glad he has been found guilty but nothing is going to bring my lovely boy back.”

The detective who led the investigation into the death said last night that his thoughts were with Shaun’s family and told how he hoped the verdict would give them some sort of closure.

The jury took four hours to find the youth guilty of killing Shaun by punching him, causing him to fall to the ground and hit his head on the pavement.

Former Bonnyrigg Rose star Shaun, 30, suffered massive head injuries in the fall which came during a mass brawl outside Gladstones bar in the early hours of New Year’s Day.

Shaun, who lived in Clermiston with partner, Nicole, and their young daughter, was rushed to the Royal Infirmary but died a few hours later.

The court heard how the youth had been drinking and causing trouble on the streets of the Capital as crowds celebrated Hogmanay.

Before the bells as crowds gathered at the Meadows to watch the fireworks, the youth punched student Hugh Cullen, 22, who had wished him “Happy New Year” – breaking multiple bones in his face.

He then continued to attack random strangers along with friend Mohammed Zakariyah.

One of their victims was Michael Smith who just left Gladstones a short time before.

When news of this assault reached the pub shortly afterwards it sparked a spiral of violence.

Shaun had been in the bar enjoying a party with friends including Danny Swanson, the Hibs footballer, whose dad owns the pub.

As the trouble began in the street, Danny’s cousin Steven Swanson ran back into the pub, grabbed two pool cues and asked others to follow him 

His friend Shaun was one of those who went outside and as several fights broke out on the cobbled street, he was fatally injured.

Hibs star Swanson, 30, admitted in court there were some parts of the incident he could not recall clearly but he was “positive” his friend had been punched then kicked.

CCTV images captured much of the fighting but not the blow which struck Shaun.

The youth admitted assaulting five other people in the streets of Edinburgh that night. He has been in custody since the incident and will be sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow on November 8.

Zakariyah, 19, who was with him that night and has admitted two separate assaults and a breach of the peace, will also be sentenced then. A third man Marcus Brown, 18, was acquitted of the seven charges he faced.

There was a heavy police presence in the courtroom and the officers were needed as tempers flared following the verdict.

Trouble broke out in the public gallery between the friends of the dead man and relatives of the youth.

There were loud shouts of “yes” and “thank you” as the guilty verdict was announced. The youth slumped to the floor in the dock in tears and there was loud wailing from a female relative.

The youth then stopped at the top of the stairs as he was being taken to the cells resulting in loud shouts of “Get him 

With the judge and jury looking on, police removed people from the public gallery amid shouts and threats.

There was more shouting 
between the two groups as they left the court building.

The 17-year-old was charged after an extensive investigation by Police Scotland’s Major Investigation Team into Shaun’s death.

Detective Inspector Stuart Alexander paid tribute to Shaun’s family following the trial. Shaun was the oldest of five children.

“My thoughts are with Shaun’s family at this traumatic time for them.

“They have had to endure the process of a trial and not only hear horrific details but see some harrowing footage of what happened to their loved one that night.

“He was out celebrating the New Year when his life was sadly taken from him.

“Police Scotland is committed to bringing these type of offenders to justice and will continue to work tirelessly to prevent people like this bringing fear to our communities.

“I hope that the fact this young man has now been found guilty of culpable homicide and the other assaults can help Shaun’s family have some sort of closure and the other victims and their families can see that justice has been done. Shaun’s family have asked me to request that their privacy be respected at this difficult time.”