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The family of Connor Saunders has issued a statement following a trial at Hove Crown Court:
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.
We as a family would like to thank our barrister Mr Oliver Dunkin for the way he represented our son Connor at all times and the way he kept to the facts of the case throughout. At all times he was totally respectful to our son and acted in a thoroughly professional manner.Our gratitude goes beyond words.
Special thanks also to DCI Nick May, family liaison DC Mors Lambert, DC Amanda Hart, DI Wendy Burton, Victim Support Ally Munday.
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!