Brentwood stabbings: Frankie Watson accused of killing two teenagers in 'explosion of violence'

Police at the scene of the double stabbing in Brentwood in October 2021. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Two armed teenagers chasing a man were stabbed to death after he ambushed them in a car park in an "explosion of violence", a court heard.

Frankie Watson, 20, is accused of murdering 16-year-old boys Charlie Preston and Frankie Gater in the early hours of 24 October last year, and seriously injuring a third boy.

Lisa Wilding QC, prosecuting, told Basildon Crown Court that Watson had a folding knife with him, Preston had a machete and Gater had a knuckleduster.

She said Watson was with a group of friends when they “encountered” another group of youths on the High Street in Brentwood, Essex.

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

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

As a result of the confrontation, Preston and Gater's group chased Watson's group from the High Street to 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," said Ms Wilding.

“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,” she said.

“There followed an explosion of violence… Frankie Watson used the knife he had on him to stab three of his pursuing group a total of 12 times.”

She said Preston and Gater, both from Romford, died of their injuries, while the third youth – who cannot be named for legal reasons – “received serious injuries from a stab wound to his chest” but survived.

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 said.

“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.”

Watson, of Baker Street, Orsett, Essex, denies two counts of murder, two counts of manslaughter, one of wounding with intent and one of having a bladed article.

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.

Ms Wilding said that shortly before 9pm, a 15-year-old boy was mugged for his jacket by one of the group containing Gater and Preston.

She said that shortly before midnight, Gater and Preston were involved in an attempted burglary in Mayfield Gardens in Brentwood.

Ms Wilding told jurors: “The prosecution anticipate that the issue for you to determine in this case will be self defence.

“Was the defendant set upon such that he had to defend himself, or was he an aggressor in this fight?

“The prosecution say that he too was an aggressor. This was a straightforward fight, with both sides as willing participants and armed for it.”

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

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