Shaun Woodburn mum reflects on son’s tragic death two years on

Denise Syme, mum of Shaun Woodburn. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Denise Syme, mum of Shaun Woodburn. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

THE mum of tragic Shaun Woodburn has reflected on a turbulent year on the second anniversary of her son’s senseless killing.

Mr Woodburn. 30, died after being attacked outside Gladstones Bar in Leith on New Year’s Day 2017.

His killer, Mohamed Ibnomer, then 16, was sentenced to six years for his culpable homicide the following November.

“My lovely son is always in our hearts and although there are still many tears shed there are also lots of lovely memories that make us smile,” said Shaun’s mum, Denise Syme, 57.

Dad-of-one Shaun, 30, died after being felled by a single punch from then 16-year-old schoolboy Ibnomer outside Gladstones in the early hours of January 1, 2017.

The former Bonnyrigg Rose defender had been seeing in 2017 at the bar with family and friends, including Hibs star Danny Swanson.

Former James Gillespie’s student Ibnomer was part of a drunken gang attacking strangers across the city on Hogmanay.

Following his conviction, Shaun’s family, led by his dad, Kevin Woodburn, launched a campaign for stiffer sentences which saw them meet top prosecutors and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

They ultimately failed in getting a review of the sentence handed down to their son’s killer but were victorious in overhauling the “barbaric” post-mortem system.

The so-called “Shaun’s Law” plans to limit second post-mortems on victims unless they are necessary.

“2018 has given us it share of ups and downs,” said Mrs Syme. “The family have continued to fight for justice in Shaun’s name because we still feel that there are huge flaws in the justice system.

“There are lots of rights for the perpetrators of crime but not many for the victims’ families.

“We as a family cannot change it all ourselves but we hope that we have made people aware that changes are needed.

“Kevin, Shaun’s dad, has worked really hard to bring about changes in the post mortem law, as that was one of the things that really upset us at the beginning of the criminal process.

“Shaun’s Law means that the victims’ families will not have to wait as long on their loved ones being returned to them because one autopsy would be sufficient.”

Mrs Syme, meanwhile, has been building a fitting legacy to her popular, football-loving son with an annual charity tournament and organ donation campaigning.

“I have been concentrating on the positive and promoting organ donation by giving talks to senior students in the High school where I work,” she added.

“I will continue to do this, as knowing that Shaun has saved lives helps me a lot. We will also continue our fundraising and donate to charities close to Shaun’s heart.

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