• Sat. Nov 27th, 2021

A man accused of stabbing two 16-year-old boys to death in Brentwood will stand trial for their murders in August next year.

Frankie Watson, 19, was remanded in custody at Chelmsford prison following a brief hearing at Basildon Crown Court this morning.

Judge Ian Graham told the defendant from Orsett, Essex, that he would next attend court in December when he would be asked to enter a plea.

Watson, who wore a prison-issue blue and yellow track-suit spoke only to confirm his name and that he could observe court proceedings via video link from the jail.

The teenager is accused of killing Charlie Preston and Frankie Gater, both 16, from Romford, Essex and the attempted murder of another boy who cannot be named for legal reasons.

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He is also accused of being possession of an offensive weapon.  

Frankie’s dad Conan, left of centre

Speaking via videolink on Thursday, Watson spoke only to confirm his identity, and after he was addressed by Judge Ian Graham the defendant said to him: ‘Thank you, sir.’

No application for bail was made and Watson was remanded in custody until a plea hearing on December 23.

A provisional trial date was set for August 22 next year with a time-estimate of three weeks.

Tributes have since flooded 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.’ 

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Charlie’s grieving 37-year-mother, Kirsti Preston also spoke of her pain after losing her first-born son.

She said: ‘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.’ 

Essex Police said officers were called to Regency Court at about 1.30am on Sunday and found three people had been injured with stab wounds, including two teenagers who later died from their injuries.

The third person was treated for non-life threatening injuries, the force added.

Two men – a 20-year-old from Grays and a 21-year-old from South Ockendon – were arrested on suspicion of murder, before being released on bail to November 19.

A 40-year-old man from Brentwood has also been released under investigation.

Essex Police said four others were arrested over the incident but face no further action: A 20-year-old man from South Ockendon and three men from Grays aged 19, 20, and 49.

The police added that officers had seized around 200 hours of CCTV footage and spoken to more than 20 people as part of the investigation.

A man accused of stabbing two 16-year-old boys to death in Brentwood is the son of a former England football scout.

His 49-year-old father, Conan Watson, also attended.

He declined to comment outside court but a family source asked journalists to ‘write the truth’

Watson’s father joined Arsenal as a football scout in 2005 before moving to Manchester United as its Head of London Scouting and Coordinator in 2012.

Five years later, he joined the Football Association (FA) as a scout identifying talented national players. He went on to work at Arsenal as its Head Scout for U16/U15s in February last year.

Tributes have since flooded 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.’ 

Charlie’s grieving 37-year-mother, Kirsti Preston, also spoke of her pain after losing her first-born son.

She said: ‘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.’ 

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