The grandparents of tragic footballer Shaun Woodburn say they have been comforted by an outpouring of support after thousands of people backed an appeal against the “unduly lenient” sentence of his killer.
Grandfather Oliver Woodburn, who attended the sentencing, said he felt numb after the teen thug who killed his grandson was given just four years in jail, but remains optimistic for a good outcome should the case be taken to an appeal.
An online petition calling for the appeal has reached nearly 60,000 signatures since it went online last week.
Speaking to the Evening News, Oliver said: “I would like to say thank you to all the people who have signed the petition, my wife and I have shed many a tear this week.
“But some of the comments have been very comforting.
“We are overwhelmed by the response and can’t thank the people of Scotland enough. We are optimistic that there will be a good outcome and Shaun will be given justice that this beautiful boy deserves.”
The Crown Office, who has the right to appeal “unduly lenient” verdicts, confirmed last night that whether the case will reach an appeal is still “under consideration”.
Oliver, who has also written an open letter on Facebook addressed to sentencing judge Lady Stacey, described the loss of his grandson as a “gaping void” in the families lives.
He said: “He was a loving, caring father to his four-year-old daughter. They adored each other, he also gave up his pursuing his junior football career to have more time with her as he wanted to ensure his daughter grew up with all the love, attention and guidance she so rightly deserved.
“He also took her to Florida on holidays and would do everything and anything required to ensure she was protected, loved, and nurtured to the best of his ability – they had an extremely special bond and they loved each other deeply.
“Shaun was loved and respected by all creeds and religions as the condolence book created at his funeral – now held at his place of work – shows. Nobody had a bad word to say about him and quite to the contrary, all of the drivers thought he was a wonderful and supportive colleague and all round great guy.”
Oliver said his fondest memory of Shaun was still the day he was born, as the first grandchild, his birth sparked an unconditional love from Oliver and wife Patricia.
“We were very proud of Shaun especially when he got an under 19 development cap for Scotland,” Oliver said. “When I came home, I would watch him play at juvenile level and during his junior time and with Whitehall welfare.”
Tory MSP Miles Briggs has promised to use First Minister’s Questions this week to raise the scandal of the soft sentence amidst pressure on Lord Advocate James Wolffe to instruct an appeal against the sentence.
And it is the outpouring of support that has given Oliver confidence of a successful appeal.
Oliver finished: “With all the responses we have had from the campaign so far we expect the Lord Advocate to grant the appeal – we know the letter has reached his desk.”