Shock after death of ‘gentle giant’

Former Bonnyrigg Rose player Shaun Woodburn.
Former Bonnyrigg Rose player Shaun Woodburn.

Tributes have poured in for former Bonnyrigg Rose, Newtongrange Star and Whitehill Welfare footballer Shaun Woodburn who died following an alleged assault on New Year’s Day.

Shaun (30) was taken to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary in a critical condition after he was allegedly attacked in Great Junction Street, Leith, as he celebrated Hogmanay at around 2am on Sunday. Police confirmed at 10.45pm the same day that he had passed away.

A 16-year-old boy appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Monday charged with murder and was remanded in custody. Another teenager, 18-year-old Mohammed Zakariyah, of Edinburgh, appeared at the petition hearing to face a charge of assault to injury. He was released on bail.

Bonnyrigg Rose club secretary Robert Dickson led the tributes to the left back, who played at New Dundas Park from 2012 to 2015, helping the club to Super League and East of Scotland Cup glory.

He said: “Words can’t describe it. He was a big gentle giant, a gentleman. He was a well-liked guy, who had a lot of respect in the changing room. People in the football club just can’t believe it.”

Shaun was part of the Newtongrange Star team which won the East of Scotland Cup in 2011. A spokesman for the club said: “It’s awful news. He was a great player and a nice guy, very popular.

“He was a good solid defender who never let us down.

“We are all just numb with shock. Our thoughts are with his family and friends and we are deeply saddened to lose one of our former players.”

Before playing for Newtongrange Star, Shaun was at Whitehill Welfare, where he also won silverware.

The Rosewell club’s secretary, Andrew Renwick, said the club planned to hold a minute’s silence before their next game, adding: “Our thoughts are with the family just now. It’s absolutely devastating. It’s just so shocking for this to happen. Just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“He was such nice young guy. He was very well liked at the club and I know the supporters liked him as well.”

Shaun, who lived in Edinburgh and quit football in 2015 to spend more time with his family, also played for Loanhead Amateurs.

Detective Inspector Graham Grant said: “A murder inquiry is now being carried out and there will continue to be a police presence in Leith as we conduct our investigation.”