The fiancee and parents of a non-League footballer found dead at his home issued statements on Wednesday night speaking of their devastation.

Lindsey Cowan, the fiancee of Rushden and Diamonds goalkeeper Dale Roberts, described the 24-year-old as "my childhood sweetheart and the love of my life". In a separate statement, the footballer's parents, Isabelle and George Roberts, said Lindsey and their son had been very happy together.

In her statement, Miss Cowan said: "We had been together since a young age and I will never get over his death. I can only ask the media to allow me to grieve peacefully and leave me alone at this very, very difficult time."

Mr and Mrs Roberts added: "We are grieving for our wonderful son Dale. We are devastated by his death and we would ask the media to allow us to grieve in private."

Roberts, whose death is not being treated as suspicious by Northamptonshire Police, was found dead on Tuesday at his home in Higham Ferrers, near Rushden.

Rushden and Diamonds' FA Trophy replay against Eastwood Town was postponed in the wake of the tragedy and Saturday's Blue Square Premier clash against Eastbourne has also been called off.

It has not yet been revealed how Roberts died, but Northamptonshire Police said it had been notified of his sudden death.

A police spokesman said: "There are no suspicious circumstances in relation to his death and a report is being prepared for the coroner."

In a statement, Rushden and Diamonds chairman Gary Calder said: "It is with great sadness that this afternoon our England-C goalkeeper Dale Roberts passed away, our thoughts and prayers at this time go to his parents, family and friends."

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