Shaun Woodburn’s family ‘overwhelmed’ as 45,000 back petition

Shaun Woodburn. Picture: contributed
Shaun Woodburn. Picture: contributed

The grieving mum of tragic footballer Shaun Woodburn said she was completely overwhelmed after more than 45,000 people backed a campaign demanding a tougher sentence for her son’s killer.

Heartbroken Denise Syme said she wanted to say “thank you” to everyone for their support.

In a message to the Evening News, she said: “The family are overwhelmed with the response from everyone and it has given us the strength we need to take this very important campaign onward.”

READ MORE: Footballer Danny Swanson slams ‘pitiful’ sentence for Shaun’s killer

The petition, calling for “justice” for Shaun, was started by his dad Kevin in response to what the family say was an “unduly lenient” sentence of four years handed out to Shaun’s killer.

Shaun’s family reacted with fury, saying the amount of time his killer will be locked up wasn’t severe enough.

The 17-year-old attacker, who cannot be named because of his age, was sentenced earlier this week for the culpable homicide of the footballer during a New Year street fight.

Shaun’s best pal, Hibs ace Danny Swanson, branded the four year-sentence “a shambles and embarrassing”:

Speaking to the Daily Record, he said: “It is the final insult to a man – a decent, kind human being – who never hurt a single person in his life.

“A life that has been cut short by a thug who set out that night to cause panic and fear all night to innocent members of the public.

“Nothing would bring Shaun back but you would have hoped to have seen his killer punished. That hasn’t happened and it’s sickening.”

“I couldn’t believe it when I heard he had only been given four years. It’s not even a punishment. It’s a holiday camp he’s going to.

“He’s not being treated as an adult. There is something wrong with a system that allows someone to kill a man and be treated like a child.

“He’s in a young offenders unit, not prison. He’ll have access to education and little luxuries like video games and television. His family can still visit him.”

“Shaun’s family and friends have been robbed of all that because of this person’s violent behaviour. But, for us, the sentence is for life.

He added: “You can’t tell me in four years he’ll have changed. Be rehabilitated? Be a good person? You can’t kill someone and in four short years be a changed man.

“When I was sitting in the dock giving evidence, the other two couldn’t look at me and sat with their heads bowed.

“But he sat there staring right through me the whole time. He’s not shown an ounce of remorse.”

newsen@edinburghnews.co.uk