Leader comment: What message does sentencing of Shaun Woodburn’s killer send out?

Shaun Woodburn
Shaun Woodburn
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If the response to the killing of Shaun Woodburn was overwhelming, then the reaction to the sentencing of his killer has been unprecendented.

The death of the young dad and junior football star was widely felt across the region with tributes flooding in from the sporting world and many more who knew him off the pitch.

No one can remember protests like those which have followed the sentencing of the youth who killed him. The 17-year-old, who cannot be named due to his age, spent the night of Shaun’s death attacking strangers at random. Shaun, aged 30, was at least the fifth person he attacked.

The message that this sentence sends out is loud and clear. You can go out on the streets of Edinburgh, wreak indiscriminate violence on whoever comes into your path, kill a man - and we won’t throw the book at you if you are only 16.

That is a dangerous message, especially when youths in the city have been hurling paving stones at police officers and using firework rockets as weapons against them.

The widespread public outrage will surely persuade Lord Advocate James Wolffe to order an appeal. That would be a step towards justice which few would argue has been delivered yet in Shaun’s case.