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Tributes paid to Orpington firefighter Anthony Knott after he was found off Denton Island, Newhaven

Family and friends of Orpington firefighter Anthony Knott have said they are "completely heartbroken" after he was found in the river Ouse yesterday.

The 33-year-old father was last seen walking up Market Street in Lewes, east Sussex, on Friday, December 20 just after 7.30pm after leaving a work night out.

Anthony Knott with fiancée Lucy Otto
Anthony Knott with fiancée Lucy Otto

Yesterday, police were alerted by a member of the public of a body in the water at Denton Island in Newhaven – eight miles from where he was last seen.

Leonie Marshall said on behalf of Anthony's fiancee, his parents and the rest of his friends and family: "I am sure you can all understand we are utterly devastated and completely heartbroken.

"Anthony’s story has reached out and touched the hearts of thousands of people. We would like to thank everyone for your incredible support, shares, posters, volunteers and donations.

"The people of Lewes, we will be forever grateful for your support and understanding during our searches. These three weeks have been so very hard for us all.

"We now want to take some time as a family to grieve and as I am sure everyone will understand, to respect our privacy for this time.

Anthony Knott was in Lewes with work friends
Anthony Knott was in Lewes with work friends

"Anthony, we love you and know that we will always be there and take care of Lucy and your beautiful children.

"Until we meet again. Rest In Peace."

Speaking after Mr Knott had been found, DI Mark Rosser said: “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Anthony at this difficult time.

“We would like to thank the public for their tremendous support with our investigation into the disappearance of Anthony, along with our partner agencies and volunteers who assisted with the search.”

Anthony's fiancée previously said she is "living in a nightmare".

Lucy Otto said: "I am literally living in a nightmare I wish to god I could wake up from."

CCTV shows Anthony Knott outside the Landsdown Arms pub in Lewes on Friday, December 20

Mr Knott was in Lewes as a few of his work colleagues live in the area and as a compromise to them going into London for the Christmas do the previous year, they decided to hold it in Lewes this year.

The group visited the Landsdown Arms, then the Royal Oak, followed by the Lamb of Lewes.

Mr Knott walked out of the Lamb at around 7.15pm, and was spotted on CCTV outside the Elephant and Castle pub at 7.19pm. He is then caught on CCTV at 7.41pm walking past the flea market along Market Street.

Specialist teams spent considerable periods carrying out searches near the pub and the Pells Pool area, which was flooded at the time.

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