Missing Orpington firefighter’s family ‘devastated and heartbroken’ after body found

PUBLISHED: 09:08 11 January 2020 | UPDATED: 09:17 11 January 2020

Picture of missing Orpington firefighter Anthony Knott, 33.                              Picture: SUSSEX POLICE/PA WIRE

Picture of missing Orpington firefighter Anthony Knott, 33. Picture: SUSSEX POLICE/PA WIRE

A body recovered from a Sussex river is almost certainly that of missing Orpington firefighter Anthony Knott.

Sussex Police say the body was spotted in the River Ouse at Newhaven.

A member of the public alerted police at 9.41am on Friday January 10 to the body of a man in the water at Denton Island.

Sadly, police believe the body to be that of the missing 33-year-old.

Detective Inspector Mark Rosser said: "Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Anthony at this difficult time. We too are saddened by this update and would ask the public and media to respect the families' privacy at this 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."

A police spokesman said they are not presently treating the incident as suspicious, but an investigation is under way for the coroner.

After the discovery was made, Matt Wrack, the Fire Brigade Union's general secretary, said: "We are deeply saddened to hear of the reported death of brother Anthony Knott.

"While his body has not yet been formally identified, we are thankful for the hard work of the search and rescue crews on the ground.

"This is not the news that FBU members had hoped for in the weeks since his disappearance. It is devastating to see the loss of one of our own and Anthony will be mourned by firefighters across the country. We send our deepest condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues at this difficult time."

Extensive land and water searches had been taking place since his mysterious disappearance on December 20. Friends and family often joined the searches. The body was spotted some six miles down-river from where he was last seen.

It is still not yet known how he came to be in the water.

Video footage was release by the police of him walking along a road after leaving a pub.

He had been with friends at The Lamb in Fisher Street, Lewes, before suddenly leaving.

Soon after it was clear he had gone missing, his partner Lucy Otto wrote on Facebook that he had been in a happy mood, enjoyed work and loved his family.

Anthony played football for Orpington Athletic, and the club wrote on Twitter that it is "incredibly saddened".

London Fire Brigade's Commissioner Andy Roe, said: "I'm saddened to hear the news about Firefighter Anthony Knott. All our thoughts remain with his family, friends and colleagues. This is understandably extremely difficult for Firefighter Knott's family and I ask that we all respect their privacy."

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