'Forever our champ': Family's tribute to dead teen as murder accused appears in court

Charlie Preston

Charlie Preston, 16, has been named as one of the two boys who died - Credit: Essex Police

The family of one of the teenagers who died in Brentwood paid tribute to their "champ" - while the man accused of their murders has appeared at crown court.

Essex Police has named 16-year-olds Charlie Preston and Frankie Gater as the two boys who died after an alleged disturbance in Regency Court at around 1.30am on Sunday (October 24).

Charlie's family said: “Forever our champ. Mummy and daddy love you.”

A post-mortem examination found both boys sustained stab wounds.

Frankie Watson, 19, of Baker Street, Orsett, appeared at Basildon Crown Court yesterday (October 28) charged with two counts of murder, attempted murder and possession of an offensive weapon.

A 20 year-old man from Grays and a 21 year-old man from South Ockendon were arrested on suspicion of murder and have been released on bail to November 19, while a 40 year-old man from Brentwood has been released under investigation.

A candle-lit vigil in honour of the dead teens is set to be held tonight (October 29) in Central Park, Harold Hill.

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Brentwood district commander, Ch Insp Antony Alcock, and council leader Chris Hossack visited High Street, Brentwood, to offer reassurance to residents.

Ch Insp Alcock said: “Brentwood is a safe place and I would encourage everyone to continue going about their business in the town centre, whether it’s going to work or going to the local shops.

“Officers in the Brentwood Community Policing Team continue to carry out additional patrols and the boys' families are being supported by our specially trained family liaison officers.

"The investigation continues to be conducted thoroughly and diligently by our major investigations team.

“It will continue to be our top priority now and for the coming days."

He added that detectives will remain in the area to carry out enquiries.

Ch Insp Antony Alcock

Ch Insp Antony Alcock said officers are carrying out extra patrols following the deaths - Credit: Essex Police

A Halloween event set to take place in Crown Street on Saturday (October 30) has been cancelled by businesses there following the deaths.

Chicken and Frog bookshop owner Natasha Radford said: "The community is naturally shocked and saddened by what has taken place.

"Therefore we did not consider it appropriate to go ahead with our weekend plans."