Yob who trashed memorial to tragic Shaun Woodburn faces jail

The memorial for Shaun Woodburn outside the old cinema in Great Junction St. Picture: Alistair Linford
The memorial for Shaun Woodburn outside the old cinema in Great Junction St. Picture: Alistair Linford

A YOB who destroyed a memorial to tragic young footballer Shaun Woodburn is facing a jail sentence.

Roberto Panza kicked over family flowers and released scores of tribute balloons at the memorial site to the late Shaun Woodburn.

Shaun was killed following a violent confrontation outside Gladstone’s Bar in Leith, on January 1 last year.

Panza, 46, was said to be “highly intoxicated” when he carried out the attack on January 2 this year after consuming drugs, legal highs and alcohol beforehand.

READ MORE: Mindless yob trashed memorial to tragic Shaun Woodburn

He kicked over flowers and cards before ripping a tribute banner - stating Justice For Shaun - down from a wall and walking off with it.

At the time, the attack on the memorial was described as a “despicable and cowardly act” by Shaun’s devastated dad Kevin.

He added: “Why would anyone want to destroy a memorial to a man who was killed? It is beyond sickening.”

Panza pleaded guilty to the memorial attack when he appeared from custody at Edinburgh Sheriff Court today.

Fiscal depute Rachel Aedy told the court the despicable attack on the memorial had “a significant impact on the local community” and took place just hours after the memorial had been put in place.

READ MORE: Leith locals replace trashed tribute to Shaun Woodburn

Ms Aedy said: “Around 1.20am the accused was 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 memorial attack the following morning and after viewing CCTV police officers identified Panza as the culprit.

Defence solicitor Stephen Mannifield 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 later.

Panza also admitted 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 said” “These were extreme acts of aggression and violence towards bystanders at a variety of high-profile places including the American Consulate, Holyrood Palace and a memorial site.

“You were extremely intoxicated and using legal highs and my concern is for the public on your release.”

Sheriff Ross deferred sentence to next month for the preparation or reports.

Shaun, 30, lost his life after being viciously assaulted by a teenager outside the Edinburgh bar just minutes after bringing in the New Year with friends in 2017.

The dad-of-one’s killer was jailed for four years last November after being found guilty of culpable homicide prompting his family to launch a campaign for a review of his lenient sentence.

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