Vandal who trashed Shaun Woodburn memorial escapes jail sentence
A CALLOUS vandal who trashed a memorial to tragic footballer Shaun Woodburn has escaped a jail sentence.
Roberto Panza had taken legal highs and alcohol before he kicked over family flowers and released tribute balloons at the memorial site outside Gladstone’s Bar in Leith, Edinburgh.
The 46-year-old drug user also ripped a large banner down from a wall with the words Justice For Shaun displayed on it before walking off.
Shaun’ s family had laid the poignant memorial outside the pub on January 1 this year to mark the one year anniversary of his death.
Father-of-one Shaun was killed following a violent confrontation outside Gladstone’s Bar on January 1, 2017.
Panza, also know as Ali Khaloufi, admitted to a breach of the peace charge by destroying the memorial during an appearance at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last month and he returned to the dock from custody for sentencing on Tuesday.
He also pleaded guilty to three further charges of assault and conducting himself in a disorderly manner during separate incidents at the American Consulate and Holyrood Palace in December last year.
Sheriff Nigel Ross placed Panza on a two-year Offender’s Supervision Order and ordered him to take part in alcohol counselling over that period.
Following the attack on the memorial Shaun’s devastated dad Kevin described it as a “despicable and cowardly act”.
He added: “Why would anyone want to destroy a memorial to a man who was killed? It is beyond sickening.”
Previously the court heard Panza, from Edinburgh, was “highly intoxicated” when he carried out the New Year’s Day attack after consuming drugs, legal highs and alcohol.
Fiscal depute Rachel Aedy told the court the vandalism had “a significant impact on the local community” and took place just hours after the memorial had been put in place.
Ms Aedy said: “Around 1.20am the accused attended at the locus close to Gladstone’s Bar. There were balloons, a banner and cards at the scene.
“Around 1.23am the accused let the balloons fly away and kicked the cards and flowers.
“He then sat on a bench at the bar before returning to the memorial and picking up a 12 foot by three door banner with ‘Justice for Shaun’ displayed on it.
“The banner was pulled off the wall and he walked away with it.”
The owner of the pub notified police about the vandalism the following morning and after viewing CCTV police officers identified Panza who was arrested at a nearby hostel.
Stephen Mannifield, defending, said his client had been using legal highs, alcohol and drugs before carrying out the callous vandalism attack on the memorial.
Mr Mannifield added Panza was “deeply ashamed” of his actions and had asked a friend to put fresh flowers down at the newly-built memorial site just days after he had destroyed it.
Shaun died after he was attacked by a teenager in the early hours of January 1, 2017. The former Bonnyrigg Rose FC suffered massive head injuries.
Mohammed Ibnomer, 18, was jailed for four years in November 2017 after a High Court jury returned a verdict of culpable homicide