Mark Denton murder: Boxer was 'larger than life'

Mark Denton
Image caption Mark Denton's family said they were "devastated and heartbroken"

The family of an amateur boxer who died after a "brutal attack" have paid tribute to the "larger than life character".

Mark Denton, 31, died in hospital after being taken there from a house in Hutton Avenue, in Hartlepool, on New Year's Eve.

He had been attacked with a weapon at a party at about 22:20 GMT.

Three people were arrested on suspicion of murder and remain in police custody.

They are a 17-year-old youth, a 23-year-old man and another man in his 20s.

'Chaos and fear'

A number of addresses in the Hartlepool area have been searched in connection with the investigation.

Mr Denton's family said in a statement they were "devastated and heartbroken to have lost Mark".

Image caption Mark Denton was found at a house in Hutton Avenue late on New Year's Eve

They added: "Our hearts will never heal from the loss of Mark, he was a larger than life character and our loss is immeasurable."

Det Ch Insp Anne-Marie Salwey, who is leading the investigation, said: "This is a brutal attack against Mark and it's clear a weapon has been used.

"There were a number of people trying to help Mark but people were also in a state of chaos and fear and were trying to leave the address.

"There was an opportunity for people to have left before police have come along and it's those people that I would appeal to contact police."

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