Two teenage boys who were ‘stabbed to death’ in Essex at the weekend have been pictured for the first time.
Eight men, aged between 19 and 49, were held on suspicion of the murders as devastated family and friends visited a makeshift memorial for the 16-year-olds in Brentwood.
The boys, named locally as Frankie Gater and Charlie Preston, died in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Officers were scrambled to an address in Regency Court at about 1.30am, and found three people injured. Two of them had already died. The third boy’s injuries were not life-threatening.
It’s believed they were the victim of a stabbing although Essex Police would not confirm a cause of death before a post-mortem examination.
A GoFundMe fundraiser was set up ‘in loving memory of Frankie’ yesterday, with proceeds donated to the charity Take A Knife Save A Life.
Tributes have flooded in for the two teenagers as the Brentwood community comes to turns with the sudden loss.
Flowers, cards and candles spelling out the victims’ names were left on Coptfold Road, next to the police cordon.
Frankie’s cousin Charlie Gater posted on Facebook hours after the attack: ‘Words can’t describe how sad I feel for your mum and dad. Frankie, rest in paradise. Justice will be served.’
Georgia Baker, who started the fundraiser for Frankie, wrote: ‘As many may have seen this young boy’s life was taken far too early on the morning of Sunday, October 24, in the worst circumstances possible.
‘We as a community need to pull together (as we always do) and do the best for his family and help in the recovery of bereavement.
‘We need to help provide for the family during these hard times and towards funeral costs.
‘All the love and compassion we have in this community we now need to pull together to help as much as possible, no amount of money can replace a child but let’s all help along the way.’
The town’s mayor Olivia Sanders and Father Austen, from St Thomas of Canterbury, led prayers at the site of the killing yesterday afternoon.
Ms Sanders said: ‘Our hearts break for the families of the boys who tragically lost their lives this weekend. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are very much with them.’
‘The community is naturally shocked and saddened by what has taken place. Therefore, we did not consider it appropriate to go ahead with our weekend plans.
‘We will continue to ensure that Crown Street remains at the heart of the community so that we can all support each other moving forward.’
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.’
A visible police presence will continue in Brentwood over the coming days to reassure the community.
Brentwood Council also confirmed a Halloween event due to take place near the stabbing scene has been cancelled.
Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at email@example.com.
For more stories like this, check our news page.