The family of Woodingdean teenager Connor Saunders have paid tribute to their son and thanked those who supported them during the manslaughter that ended yesterday (Thursday 8 November).
Connor, 19, from Downsway in Woodingdean, was punched during a confrontation between two groups of youths outside the Tesco Metro in West Street, Rottingdean, on Saturday 14 April.
He was taken to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton where he died the next day (Sunday 15 April).
The young plasterer was also a talented footballer who played for Peacehaven and Telscombe FC.
A 14-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was cleared of manslaughter by a jury at Hove Crown Court yesterday after a trial lasting almost four weeks.
He said that he had acted in self-defence.
Connor’s family said: “Whatever the verdict that was given by the jury, it cannot bring our son Connor back to life.
“When he went out that night after a hard week’s work, we didn’t for one second think that he would never return to his loving family and home.
“Connor’s short life touched so many people.
“He was popular, liked and loved by family, friends and a community.
“He loved his football. He was full of fun and again loved by all.”
The family thanked barrister Oliver Dunkin for his conduct of the prosecution, adding: “At all times he was totally respectful to our son and acted in a thoroughly professional manner.
“Our gratitude goes beyond words.”
The family also thanked officers from Sussex Police and the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team.
Finally, the family said: “We would also like to thank our family, friends and all who knew the boy Connor was for their support at this deeply distressing time.
“God bless you, Connor. Our love for you will never stop.”