Family of St Leonards teen pay tribute to ‘most loving and loyal friend’

Connor Ansell SUS-180626-102341001
Connor Ansell SUS-180626-102341001

The family and friends of a teenager who was stabbed to death have paid tribute to him.

Connor Ansell, 16, was stabbed in Old Church Road, St Leonards, on November 18 last year.

He was taken to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton but died six days later.

A 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was sentenced to nine years in jail on June 8 for the manslaughter of Connor.

The boy was previously charged with murder, a charge he denied, before being found guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter.

Jack Cunnion, 18, of Essex Road, St Leonards, who was charged with murder, was found not guilty by a jury.

Michelle Hitchman, Connor’s mother, said: “Connor’s life was so cruelly taken. His death has caused much heartache and pain to all those who knew him.

“All I’m left with are memories and photos and a heartache that will never heal.”

His mum added that Connor had ‘turned his life around’ and was looking for work in the building trade after completing the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS).

She said: “Connor had his life mapped out and was planning for the future.”

Family friend, Michelle Larkin, said: “Connor was so excited and optimistic about his future.

“He was the most loving and loyal boy I’ve ever come across. If you needed him and were in his circle of friends he was completely loyal.

“His best friend Kyle and him had plans to do everything together, like go on holiday. They were so close, they were like brothers.”

Connor, who went to New Horizons and Cuckmere House in Seaford, was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) when he was eight.

Michelle added: “We felt that Connor’s character was on trial during the court case and that his name was dragged through the dirt.”

Michelle praised the police for their support throughout the case and for their work in quickly finding vital evidence.

She said: “The police found the knife and other evidence in a bin so quick and had made arrests that evening.”

But speaking about the availability of knives on the streets, Michelle said: “I do not want my sons out on the street now.

“This does make parents fearful.”