‘Forever our champ’ – family’s tribute to teenage boy who was stabbed to death

·2-min read
Forensic officers at Regency Court in Brentwood, Essex (Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Wire)
Forensic officers at Regency Court in Brentwood, Essex (Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Wire)

The family of one of two teenage boys who were stabbed to death have paid tribute to their “champ”.

Charlie Preston and Frankie Gater, both aged 16, died after police were called to a disturbance in Brentwood in Essex in the early hours of Sunday.

A post-mortem examination confirmed that both boys had sustained stab wounds, Essex Police said.

Charlie’s family said, in a tribute issued by police: “Forever our Champ.

“Mummy and daddy love you.”

Frankie Watson, 19, of Baker Street, Orsett, Essex, appeared before Basildon Crown Court on Thursday charged with murdering the two boys.

A forensic officer at work (Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Wire)
A forensic officer at work (Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Wire)

He is also charged with the attempted murder of a third boy, who cannot be named due to reporting restrictions, and with possession of an offensive weapon.

Watson appeared by video-link from Chelmsford Prison, remaining seated at a desk as he listened to proceedings.

He was not asked to enter pleas to the charges.

Watson spoke to confirm his identity, and after he was addressed by Judge Ian Graham the defendant said to him: “Thank you, sir.”

No application for bail was made and Watson was remanded in custody until a plea hearing on December 23.

A provisional trial date was set for August 22 next year with a time estimate of three weeks.

HMP Chelmsford (Andrew Parsons/PA) (PA Archive)
HMP Chelmsford (Andrew Parsons/PA) (PA Archive)

Police were called to the scene in Regency Court at around 1.30am and several arrests were made.

Two men, a 20-year-old from Grays and a 21-year-old from South Ockendon, were arrested on suspicion of murder, before being released on bail to November 19.

A 40-year-old man from Brentwood has also been released under investigation.

Essex Police said four others were arrested over the incident but face no further action: a 20-year-old man from South Ockendon and three men from Grays aged 19, 20, and 49.

The force added that officers had seized around 200 hours of CCTV footage and spoken to more than 20 people as part of the investigation.

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call Essex Police on 101 citing incident 125 of October 24.

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