THREE teenagers have been arrested on suspicion of murder following the death of Peacehaven & Telscombe footballer Connor Saunders.
Connor, 19, of Woodingdean, Brighton, was assaulted in West Street, Rottingdean, last night (Saturday) following an altercation between two groups. It was announced this afternoon that he had died.
A 13-year-old and two 14-year-olds were arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm. They have now been arrested on suspicion of murder.
Detective Chief Inspector Nick May of Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team is leading the investigation. He said: “Sadly a young man has now died following a serious assault in Rottingdean last night. Our thoughts are with the family at what is an incredibly difficult time for them.
“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.
“I am aware that there has been some speculation locally that a weapon was involved, but there is no indication from the information we have that this was the case.”
A statement from Peacehaven & Telscombe FC 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. The club is currently in a state of shock. Our condolences go to all the family and we would ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult time.
“RIP Connor we all loved you and you will never be forgotten.”
Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact Sussex Police by calling 101 and quoting Operation Markby or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.