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December 27, 2002

Murder Probe Over Teenager

From: Gloucestershire Echo, UK - 27 Dec 2002

Police have launched a murder probe after a deaf teenager, who was beaten and left for dead just days before Christmas, died in hospital.

Popular sports fan Mark Burgess, 19, of Yorkley, spent five days fighting for his life in Bristol's Frenchay Hospital, but succumbed to serious head injuries on Boxing Day morning.

Two 17-year-old girls and an 18-year-old man were today being interviewed by Gloucestershire CID as part of their murder investigation.

His family were too upset yesterday to talk to The Citizen, but said they were "devastated" and "in shock" at Mr Burgess's death.

His grandparents, Margaret and Russell Fennell, spoke to The Citizen just days after Mr Burgess was attacked in Pillowell Road, Whitecroft.

Wiping away a tear, Mrs Fennell, 67, said: "His mum and dad are just devastated and are having counselling to cope."

His parents, Iris and David, stayed at Mr Burgess's bedside as he lay fighting for his life in Frenchay.

Mr Burgess, who played for Yorkley Football Club, had been at a Christmas party with work colleagues from Steve Turley Builders, where he is a labourer, when the incident happened last Friday.

He was attacked just after midnight as he walked the two miles to his home.

Mr Burgess was conscious when he was found by a passer-by and was asking for his girlfriend of three years, 17-year-old Marie Screen.

But his condition deteriorated in the ambulance and he was transferred to Frenchay.

Malcolm Waters, chairman of Yorkley FC, said: "Mark had been playing with us for about four years.

"He was a very popular lad. Very quiet and unassuming. He will be sadly missed by everyone here.

"Our thoughts are with the family."

The team have suspended a game scheduled for tomorrow, as a mark of respect.

Girlfriend Marie said: "I can't understand it. He is a popular lad, with no enemies and gets into no trouble. Everyone speaks so highly of him and he just enjoys going out for a pint with his friends. He couldn't hurt a fly."

Police would like to talk to anyone with information about Mr Burgess's death.

They should call Gloucestershire Police on 0845 090 1234, or anonymously on Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

© Northcliffe Electronic Publishing Ltd.