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Cocozza's grief over dead friend

Former X Factor star Frankie Cocozza has said his life will never be the same following the death of a promising young footballer.

Connor Saunders, 19, is believed to have received a forceful punch during an altercation between two groups of people in West Street, Rottingdean, East Sussex, between 10.30 and 10.55pm on Saturday, Sussex Police said.

Three teenagers have been arrested on suspicion of murder after Mr Saunders, of Downsway, Woodingdean, Brighton, was taken to the Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton, but died on Sunday morning.

Cocozza, who is understood to be a childhood friend of Mr Saunders, tweeted: "My life will never be the same."

He began the message with the "#cs26" hashtag, which has been used by Sussex Police in messages about the incident.

Two boys aged 14 and one aged 13 who were originally arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm were later arrested on suspicion of murder and remain in police custody.

Peacehaven and Telscombe Football Club released a statement following Mr Saunders' death, saying they had lost a "wonderful person and talented footballer".

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. Our thoughts are with the family at what is an incredibly difficult time for them.

"Officers will be in the Rottingdean area to speak with local residents and anyone who may be concerned about the incident."

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact Sussex Police on 101 quoting Operation Markby, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.

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