I didn’t know Shaun Woodburn.
Over the last 10 months I have heard a lot about him as our journalists have spoken to many of those who held him dear. One thing that is clear to me is that I would have been lucky if I had known him.
It is not unusual for people to talk highly of those they have loved and lost, but the outpouring of grief for Shaun has been exceptional.
He was just 30 years old when he died but he touched the lives of so many people before his tragic and senseless death. Everyone says the same the things about him. He was respected as a hard man on the football pitch, where he excelled as a junior football star, but he was loved as a kind, gentle guy off the pitch.
The end of his murder trial and the conviction of the youth responsible for his death has come as a huge relief to his family and many friends. That particular ordeal is over. They now face the prospect of returning to day to day life without him.
Violence is rarely if ever reasonable, but the way in which Shaun’s kiler attacked strangers at random was terrible in its senseless destruction. That will surely influence the sentence he receives. The real consolation for Shaun’s family though is the enduring love for a special young man.