Distraught mum 'broken' and 'in pieces' after son, 16, stabbed to death in 'targeted ambush' in Brentwood

THE heartbroken mum of a teenage murder victim who is believed to have been stabbed to death in a "targeted" attack has spoken of her heartbreak.

Kirsti Preston, mum of 16-year-old Charlie, told a friend she was "broken" by the loss of her son.

Charlie Preston died from his injuries following reports of an attack in the early hours of Sunday morning in Brentwood, Essex.

Another victim, 16-year-old Frankie Gator, also died.

A third victim sustained injuries but they were not life threatening police said, as eight men aged between 19 and 49 were arrested on suspicion of murder.

A friend of heartbroken Kirsti, 37, told MailOnline the mum-of-three said: "I am broken."

The life-long pal, who didn't wish to be identified, added Charlie's gran was "in pieces".

Heart-breaking pictures show the teenager enjoying a holiday abroad in Greece with his mum and the rest of their family this summer.

Police have launched a double murder investigation into what they described as "probably a targeted attack".

Yesterday tributes flooded in for the "much loved" pair of 16-year-olds.

One of Frankie's relatives took to Instagram and paid tribute to her "one of a kind" cousin, saying: "Words can’t put into perspective how much my heart has broken.

"It’s physically causing me pain I’ve lost my cousin. I can’t believe you're gone it seems like I’m lost in a nightmare.

"Our whole family love you Frankie Gater. Rest in perfect paradise.

"You always made me laugh and I'd be so excited to see your face.

"Your smile lit a light in my soul whenever I heard your name. You was one of a kind Frankie Gater, there is no other like you.

"I'm sorry you didn't get to see the rest of life."

A friend of the boys added: "Words can’t explain how I feel about losing my brother CP and you to Frankie, forever be in my heart."

Another of Charlie's friends said in a heartfelt tribute: "I promise you I’m gonna make you so proud and I will always be thinking of you Charlie.

"You was honestly so loved by everyone and you and Frankie of all people did not deserve this.

"We had our whole future planned together and I’m gonna go and do them just like you're with me still."

Andy Mondeal, 37, who lives a short walk from where the incident took place told The Sun neighbours are “shocked”.

He said: “We’re still a bit shocked about what happened.

“I came home on the day it happened around 7.30 and it was just normal.


“But there’s an alleyway nearby with a pub at the bottom so over the weekend it does get quite busy with people running around the streets.”

And another mourner at the scene, who claimed to be a friend of Frankie's older brother told of the family's devastation.

He said: "I've been talking to them all morning."

Frankie's separated parents were last night too upset to comment, reports the Daily Mail.

But another family member said relatives were trying to process their grief, the paper reported.

A third victim was treated for injuries after the knifing – which police say aren't life-threatening or life-changing.

Family and friends of the victims laid flowers at the scene with many teenage mourners among those paying tribute to the two boys who were killed.

Detectives are working to establish exactly how they died, and a forensic post-mortem examination will be carried out.

Essex Police Detective Chief Inspector Mark Barber said the horrifying incident was "probably a targeted attack" and was an isolated incident.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Clarkson, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, led the investigation through the night.

He said: "This incident has required an immediate and a large-scale response and officers and investigators have worked through the night to piece together what happened in the lead up to this tragic incident.

“Our investigations will continue throughout today.


“We understand there will naturally be shock and concern within the community after such a tragic loss of life. But, at this stage, we do not believe there is any wider threat to the public."

Chief Inspector Mark Barber added: “There will continue to be a highly visible police presence in Brentwood this morning and indeed throughout the day.

“I am acutely aware that this incident will shock many without the community."

Cops are urging anyone who was close to Regency Court or the roads around it in central Brentwood at the time, or who has any information at all, to come forward citing incident 125 of October 24.

Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Truss, said: “Our team is continuing to investigate the circumstances which led to two teenage boys sadly losing their lives in Brentwood in the early hours of Sunday morning. 

“At the moment, we are exploring numerous lines of enquiry which include assessing hours of CCTV which show the area in question.

“We also have specially trained family liaison officers in place who are continuing to support the boys’ families. 

“I am also echoing an appeal for anyone who was in the Crown Street area of Brentwood between 10pm on Saturday and 5am on Sunday morning to come forward and speak to us if they have not already done so.”

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