Byline: GRAHAM GRANT
THE family of a grandmother killed in a row over a parking space have collected a 13,000-signature petition condemning a judge's decision to free her attacker.
Ann Whittle, 58, died after being pulled to the ground and repeatedly kicked in the face outside a popular car boot sale in Glasgow.
But although her attacker, 34- year- old Carol McMillan, admitted culpable homicide, she was sentenced to only 240 hours' community service.
Friends and family of Mrs Whittle now hope to submit a 50,000- signature petition to the Crown Office, calling for a review of the decision.
They have already gathered 13,000 in only three weeks and have posted their campaign on the Internet in a bid to attract even more support.
One relative of Mrs Whittle, who did not want to be named, said: 'The public reaction has been phenomenal.
'On Saturday afternoon alone, we had people sign from 17 different countries and from 97 towns across the UK.
'Even tourists who hadn't heard of our case wanted to sign up when they learned what had happened.' Mrs Whittle had been trying to find a parking space at the car boot sale in Blochairn, Glasgow, last August when the attack took place.
As she stood waiting for her husband Norman, 59, to drive into a vacant spot she was confronted by McMillan.
When the grandmother, from Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, insisted she had seen the space first, McMillan grabbed her by the hair, wrestled her to the ground and kicked her three times in the face.
Mrs Whittle, who had been diagnosed with angina two months earlier, suffered a heart attack and later died in Glasgow Royal Infirmary.
At the High Court in Dunfermline, McMillan, of Holytown, Lanarkshire, admitted culpable homicide. Judge Lady Dorrian placed her on probation and ordered her to carry out 240 hours' community service.
Her partner, Charles Freeburn, 34, received a six-month deferred sentence after he admitted assaulting Mrs Whittle's husband as he tried to protect his wife. Mrs Whittle's relative said: 'The public seem to be as outraged as we are by this unbelievable and inconsistent sentencing that meant Ann's killer walked free.
'We'll keep on fighting and do all we can to push for this decision to be reconsidered.' Their fight has received widespread political backing, with Coatbridge Labour MP Tom Clarke and Elaine Smith, MSP, adding their names to the campaign.
The Whittle family hope to gather 50,000 signatures in the next fortnight before submitting their petition to the Crown Office.
A Crown Office spokesman said: 'We will respond to any correspondence we receive. The issue of an appeal is still being considered and the family's views will of course be taken into account.'