Tribute paid to young footballer

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A TALENTED teenage footballer who was killed during an argument in the street has been described as a “wonderful person” with a “lovely nature”.

Peacehaven and Telscombe Football Club released a statement paying tribute to 19-year-old team member Connor Saunders following his death yesterday.

The teenager, of Downsway, Woodingdean, in Brighton, is believed to have received a forceful punch during an altercation between two groups of people in West Street, Rottingdean, East Sussex, between 10.30pm and 10.55pm on Saturday, Sussex Police said.

He was taken to the Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton, but died yesterday.

Two boys aged 14 and one aged 13 who were originally arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm have now been arrested on suspicion of murder and remain in police custody, a police spokeswoman said.

A spokesman for the football club said: “We have all lost a wonderful person and talented footballer. Connor has many friends because of his lovely nature and his loss is tragic to everyone connected to our club, his friends and family.”

Detective Chief Inspector Nick May, from Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team, who is leading Operation Markby, said: “Sadly a young man has now died following a serious assault in Rottingdean last night.

“We are still working to establish the full circumstances of the incident. At the moment we believe that an altercation has taken place between two groups in West Street.

“Members of each group are known to each other and during the incident the 19-year-old victim has been punched to the head, causing him to fall to the floor.”

He said police were keen to speak to any witnesses who had not already been interviewd by police and anyone with information can contact Sussex Police on 101 quoting Operation Markby.