The distraught mother of a 16 year-old boy who was stabbed in an ambush ‘targeted’ to death has spoken out about her grief at losing her first born child’. Police are questioning eight men over the double murder. 

Charlie Preston was attacked by two men in their 40s and attacked him on a street near Brentwood, Essex.

Now Kirsti Preston, his devastated mother, has shared her sorrow at losing her son.

The mother of three, aged 37, told a friend that she was broken. I don’t know how this will affect me. I have lost my first-born.

Charlie Preston died on a street in Brentwood, Essex, in the early hours of Sunday morning after he was attacked by a group of men, two of whom are in their forties. He is pictured on holiday with his devastated mother, Kirsti

Charlie Preston, a man in his forties, was attacked by a group on a street in Brentwood. He died in the early hours of Sunday morning. He is shown here on holiday with Kirsti, his mother. 

A life-long friend, who asked not be identified, told MailOnline that Charlie’s whole family (pictured) have been rocked by his senseless murder

A life-long friend, who asked not be identified, told MailOnline that Charlie’s whole family (pictured) have been rocked by his senseless murder

MailOnline was informed by a long-time friend that Charlie’s senseless murder had rocked his entire family.

She said, “I have spoken with Kirsti, she’s broken. I have spoken with Charlie’s grandma, she is broken.

“And I have spoken to Kirsti’s sister, they are all shocked and disbelief. It is so sad and tragic.

Ms. Preston wept when she visited yesterday’s scene of her son’s murder.

The mother and her son were photographed together during a family holiday to Greece earlier in the year.

Charlie, a Romford resident, and Frankie Gater, a 16-year-old friend, were both killed in an attack by eight men in central Brentwood.

Eight men aged between 19-49 years old were arrested on suspicion that they have committed murder. Detectives are currently questioning them.


Frankie Gater

 Charlie, from Romford, (left) died alongside his friend Frankie Gater, also aged 16, (right) when they were attacked by eight men in the centre of Brentwood Essex

Forensic officers in protecting clothing survey the scene of the stabbing in Brentwood on Sunday

The scene of the stabbing in Brentwood was surveyed by forensic officers wearing protective clothing on Sunday. 

Essex Police stated that officers were called to Regency Court around 1.30 am on Sunday by officers and found three people had been hurt, including two teens who later died from their injuries.

The force also treated the third person for non-life-threatening injuries.

Frankie’s cousin Charlie Gater wrote on Facebook: “Words cannot describe how sorry I feel for your mom and dad Frankie. Rest in peace.

On Instagram, she added: “It’s physically causing pain I’ve lost cousin. I can’t believe that you are gone. It feels like I’m living in a nightmare. Frankie Gater, we love you from all our families.

“Rest in perfect paradise. You made me laugh every time, and I’d love to see your face.

“Your smile lit a fire in my soul everytime I heard your name. Frankie Gater was a one-of-a-kind Frankie Gater. There is none like you. I’m sorry that you didn’t get the chance to see the rest.

Another friend added, “Words can’t describe how I feel about the loss of my brother and you Frankie.

Family and friends visited a makeshift memorial where two 16-year-old boys were stabbed to death in Essex on Sunday morning

Friends and family visited a temporary site where two 16-year old boys were stabbed to death in Essex Sunday morning.

Police conduct a fingertip search where two teenage boys died from stab wounds in the early hours of Sunday morning at Regency Court, Brentwood in Essex

Police conduct a fingertip investigation at Regency Court in Brentwood, Essex where two teenage boys were stabbed to death in the early hours Sunday morning.

Charlie’s friend said that he would make you proud and that he would always think of him Charlie. Frankie and Charlie were truly so proud of you.

“We had our whole future together and I’m gonna do them just like you are with me still.”

A third victim was also treated for injuries sustained in the knifing, which police claim are not life-threatening.

Detectives are currently ‘working to determine how the boys died’, and post-mortem examinations will be conducted. It is believed that the teens suffered from suspected stab wounds.

A neighbour said that he heard shouts and someone “yelling out in pain” from the scene of the double murder. He claimed he tried warning police about antisocial behaviour weeks prior.

Mark MacIntosh stated that there was a lot of anti-social behaviour. He said that there is constant fighting, drinking, drug use, shouting and drugs. “I have heard people shouting, “I’m going after him,”” up there.

“I’ve been down and stopped a knife fight at the bottom here before.” I realized that what I heard was someone shouting in pain, who may have lost his own life very soon afterwards.


On Sunday Detective Superintendent Stephen Jennings stated there was an altercation between two groups who ‘knew one another’.

Chief Inspector Mark Barber, Essex Police Detective, said that the horrific incident was ‘probably targeted attack’ and was an isolated one.

Senior Investigating Officer Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Truss stated: “Our team is continuing investigation into the circumstances which led two teenage boys to tragically lose their lives in Brentwood in early Sunday morning.

“At this time, we are exploring many lines of inquiry that include assessing hours CCTV which shows the area in concern.

“We also have specially trained family liaison officials in place who continue to support the boys’ families.

“I am also urging anyone who was in Brentwood’s Crown Street between 10pm on Saturday night and 5am on Sunday to come forward and talk to us, if they haven’t already.”