Mother of Shaun Woodburn vows to keep fighting for justice

The mother of Shaun Woodburn, Denise Syme has vowed to keep fighting for justice. Picture; Lisa Ferguson
The mother of Shaun Woodburn, Denise Syme has vowed to keep fighting for justice. Picture; Lisa Ferguson

The mother of footballer Shaun Woodburn, who was killed on Hogmanay, has vowed to continue her fight for justice after an appeal of his attacker’s jail sentence was refused.

Shaun’s family were devastated after prosecutors ruled on Monday that the four-year sentence handed to the teenage killer will stand.

Shaun Woodburn and mum Denise Syme   Picture supplied by the mother

Shaun Woodburn and mum Denise Syme Picture supplied by the mother

A #justiceforshaun campaign by the family to appeal the ‘lenient’ sentence gathered more than 65,000 signatures. Nicola Sturgeon also wrote to the family offering her sympathies.

Speaking to the Evening News yesterday, Shaun’s mother Denise Syme said she felt let down by the justice system as she vowed to campaign for higher juvenile sentencing powers in Scotland.

She said: “I don’t think there is anything more we can do for Shaun’s campaign but if I can now go on and help change the sentencing powers and prevent another family from having to go through what we have then it would be a success.

“The sentencing at the moment is simply not enough and the law simply needs sorting out.

Shaun Woodburn and mum Denise Syme with his two sisters/ Contributed

Shaun Woodburn and mum Denise Syme with his two sisters/ Contributed

“He [Shaun’s killer] has got off with it getting just four years. I can’t just stop and admit defeat. I need to do something for other people because that’s what Shaun was like. I need to carry on doing something in his name to help change things for the better.”

Shaun’s attacker, now 17, cannot be named be legal reasons, was found guilty of culpable homicide at the High Court in Glasgow.

The court heard how the teenager punched former Bonnyrigg Rose player Shaun, 30, in the head causing him to fall to the ground outside Gladstone’s Bar in Leith.

Shaun’s family were shocked to hear of a lodged notice by the killer to appeal for a lower sentence. Denise said it was “not worth thinking about” if his appeal proved successful.

She said: “I want to take this all the way to parliament and I want to speak directly with Nicola Sturgeon to bring the juvenile age down and for higher sentencing.

“Juveniles have higher sentences in England and I feel that Scotland needs to bring its powers up. At the age of 16 and 17 you are not a child. If you can get married at 16 then someone should be able to take full responsibility for their actions and face the punishment they deserve as an adult would. Not everyone knew Shaun but I think people understand it could have been their son in the wrong place at the wrong time like Shaun was.”

Ben Macpherson, SNP Edinburgh Northern and Leith MSP, said: “It is very disappointing that the sentence in this case won’t be appealed by the Crown and, whilst I appreciate that these decisions are made by the Lord Advocate on the basis of the law, I understand the deep concerns of Shaun Woodburn’s family and others that this feels like an unjust and unsatisfactory outcome for such a tragic case.

“I have been in contact with Shaun Woodburn’s mother and will continue to support her and her family, and will represent her concerns to government. I have already requested a meeting for her with the cabinet secretary for justice and I am also enquiring about a meeting with the First Minister.”