Man murdered two armed teenage boys who had been chasing him, court told

Regency Court

Charlie Preston and Frankie Gater were stabbed to death in Brentwood on October 24, 2021 - Credit: Essex Police

A man being chased by armed teenagers waited for them in a car park before stabbing two of them to death in an "explosion of violence", a court was told.

Frankie Watson, 20, of Baker Street, Orsett, is accused of murdering 16-year-old Romford boys Charlie Preston and Frankie Gater in Regency Court, Brentwood, in the early hours of October 24 last year.

Watson is also accused of seriously hurting a third boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

The 20-year-old denies two counts of murder, two counts of manslaughter, one of wounding with intent and one of having a bladed article.

Trial proceedings officially got under way at Basildon Crown Court today (Tuesday, June 28).

Charlie Preston

Charlie Preston was stabbed to death in Brentwood on October 24, 2021 - Credit: Essex Police

Prosecutor Lisa Wilding QC said Watson had a folding knife with him, while Preston had a machete and Gater had a knuckleduster.

She said Watson “didn’t know that anyone in [Preston and Gater’s] group had a weapon on them”, but he did know - as he stood in the car park - that "he had a knife on him and would use it against those he stood and waited for".

Ms Wilding told the court that Watson was with a group of friends when they “encountered” another group of youths on the High Street in Brentwood.

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“The two groups exchanged words and looks,” she said.

“Charlie Preston and Frankie Gater were in that other group along with friends of theirs.

“As a result of the confrontation on the High Street, Preston and Gater’s group chased the defendant’s group.

“The chasing group was armed, as was Frankie Watson."

Ms Wilding said the two groups of young men left the High Street and ended up in an open car park.

“Frankie Watson and his friends were ahead by some way and while his friends ran off, Watson dropped back in the car park and awaited his pursuers.

“And they continued to pursue him until he and they finally encountered each other on the far side of the car park from where they had entered,” explained the QC.

Ms Wilding described what happened next as "an explosion of violence", which resulted in Watson using his knife to "stab three of his pursuing group a total of 12 times".

She said Preston and Gater died of their injuries, while the third boy survived despite receiving "serious injuries from a stab wound to his chest”.

She said the 12 stab wounds were inflicted in 30 seconds, with Preston knifed in the head, neck and back and Gater in the cheek, chest, thigh and arm.

“Frankie Watson received some cuts to his face and finger,” Ms Wilding added.

“The prosecution allege that in that short but overwhelming display of violence, Frankie Watson murdered the two men who died.

“Having caused those injuries, he ran off and disposed of his jacket, shoes and mobile telephone, none of which have ever been recovered.”

Ms Wilding said the events which led to the deaths may have been triggered by “some perceived slight or insult” and there was no evidence of previous interactions between Watson and the deceased.

She said it appeared that Gater and Preston had been “engaging in criminality” earlier that night, with an attempted burglary and the mugging of a 15-year-old boy linked to the pair.

During the attempted burglary - which took place in Brentwood - three men had kicked open the victim’s front door before being chased off.

As they ran off they dropped a phone, which belonged to Frankie Gater, as well as an Oyster Card which had been stolen from the 15-year-old boy.

The trial, due to last at least three weeks, continues.