The devastated mother of a 16-year-old boy who was stabbed to death in a ‘targeted’ ambush has told of her heartache at losing her ‘first born child’ – as police quiz eight men over the double killing.
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.
Now his devastated mother Kirsti Preston has revealed her heartache at losing her beloved son.
The 37-year-old mother of three told a friend: ‘I am broken. I don’t know how I am going to be able to deal with this. I have lost my first-born child.’
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
A life-long friend, who asked not be identified, told MailOnline that Charlie’s whole family (pictured) have been rocked by his senseless murder
The life-long friend, who asked not be identified, told MailOnline that Charlie’s whole family have been rocked by his senseless murder.
She said: ‘I have spoken to Kirsti, she is broken. I have spoken to Charlie’s gran, she is in pieces.
‘And I have spoken to Kirsti’s sister, they are all in shock and disbelief. It is such so sad, tragic.’
Ms Preston broken down in tears when she visited the scene of son’s murder yesterday.
The mother and son have been pictured together when they were enjoying a family holiday in Greece earlier this year.
Charlie, from Romford, died alongside his friend Frankie Gater, also aged 16, when they were attacked by eight men in the centre of Brentwood.
Eight men aged between 19 and 49 have been arrested on suspicion of murder and are being interviewed by detectives.
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
Essex Police said officers were called to Regency Court at about 1.30am on Sunday and found three people had been injured, including two teenagers who later died from their injuries.
The third person was treated for non-life threatening injuries, the force added.
Tributes are now flooding in for the ‘much loved’ pair of 16-year-olds, with Frankie’s cousin Charlie Gater writing on Facebook: ‘Words can’t describe how sad I feel for your mum and dad Frankie. Rest in paradise.’
She added on Instagram: ‘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.’
Another friend of the boys added: ‘Words can’t explain how I feel about losing my brother and you to Frankie, forever be in my heart.’
Family and friends visited a makeshift memorial where two 16-year-old boys were stabbed to death in Essex on 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
One of Charlie’s friends said: ‘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.’
A third victim was treated for injuries after the knifing – which police say are not life-threatening or life-changing.
Detectives are ‘working to establish how the boys died’ and post-mortem examinations will take place. It is understood that the teenagers suffered suspected stab wounds.
A neighbour at the scene said he heard shouts and someone ‘yelling out in pain’ from the scene of the suspected double murder, and claimed he tried to warn police about anti-social behaviour weeks earlier.
‘There’s constant anti-social behaviour, drinking, drugs, shouting, fighting,’ Mark MacIntosh told reporters. ‘I’ve heard people saying ”I’m going to kill him” up there.
‘I’ve come down and broken up a knife fight down at the bottom here before. I realise that what I heard was somebody yelling out in pain who may have lost his life shortly thereafter.’
On Sunday, Detective Superintendent Stephen Jennings said that there had been an altercation between ‘two groups’ who ‘knew each other’.
Essex Police Detective Chief Inspector Mark Barber said the horrifying incident was ‘probably a targeted attack’ and was an isolated incident.
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.’