One-eyed fugitive Dale Cregan ‘lured unarmed police officers into trap before opening fire’

February 8th, 20133:01 am @

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  • Dale Cregan, 29, had ‘evaded nationwide manhunt when he set the trap’
  • Huge security operation involving up to 150 officers surrounds court case
  • Cregan is accused of murders of David Short, 46, and his son Mark, 23
  • Also allegedly killed PCs Nicola Hughes, 23, and Fiona Bone, 32, last year

By
Jaya Narain

12:44, 7 February 2013


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02:29, 8 February 2013

A massive security operation – one of
the biggest seen at a court case in the UK – has been mounted
surrounding a court case into the death of two female PCs.

It involves up to 150 officers, many of them armed, with marksmen on the rooftops of surrounding buildings as a court hears the case of Dale Cregan, charged with four murders and four charges of attempted murder.

The armed officers bristled with
equipment, including the state-of-the-art Heckler Koch G36C
assault rifle, capable of firing 600 rounds per minute and boasting an
effective range of almost 800 metres.

Police

Many
were also armed with the Austrian-made Glock handgun, which holds 17
bullets and is noted for its reliability and accuracy. It was recently
adopted as the sidearm of the UK’s armed forces.

As
well as firearms, they are equipped with crippling CS gas spray, Kevlar
body armour, helmets and goggles, extra ammo as well as handcuffs and
communications equipment.

Trial: Dale Cregan had evaded a national manhunt when he set a trap, Preston Crown Court heard

A killer ambushed two female police officers and sprayed them with bullets – stopping only when he ran out of ammunition, a court heard yesterday.

After shooting them with a Glock pistol, one-eyed Dale Cregan, 29, threw a grenade at the unarmed WPCs as they lay near each other, it was alleged.

Cregan had called police with reports of a fictitious burglary and PC Fiona Bone, 32 and PC Nicola Hughes, 23, were sent to investigate, the jury heard.

Yesterday Cregan, who wears a black false onyx eye, appeared in court charged with four murders and four charges of attempted murder.

He and nine other defendants appeared in a dock packed with security staff for the start of the trial at Preston Crown Court.

The parents of both officers – Susan and Bryn Hughes and Paul and June Bone – sat in court stern-faced as the case was opened against Cregan.

The jury was told a wave of violence
that erupted on the streets of Manchester last year was triggered by a
row between two families.

Nicholas
Clarke, prosecuting, said: ‘The Short family had been involved over a
number of years in a long-standing feud with members of another local
family, the Atkinsons.

‘The families had reached a state of uneasy peace
following a lengthy dispute.’

But the court heard that peace was
shattered when an argument flared between Raymond Young, a member of the
Short family, and Theresa Atkinson, the matriarch of her family.

Atkinson allegedly lashed out with a bottle, hitting Young, who
retaliated by ‘back-handing’ her. She responded by shouting: ‘I’m going
to get you done by my sons. You just wait here, you’re dead.’

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Deaths: Cregan is accused of killing PCs Fiona Bone (left), 32, and Nicola Hughes (right), 23, and in a gun and grenade attack on September 18 last year

Days later, Atkinson’s son, Leon, 35, recruited Cregan to attack the
Short family, the court heard. As well as Cregan, others including
Anthony Wilkinson, 33, Luke Livesey, 27, Damian Gorman, 38, Matthew
James, 33 and Ryan Hadfield, 28, were brought in.

The jury heard that in May last year the Short family and friends had
gone for an evening out and ended up at the Cotton Tree pub in
Droylsden, Manchester.

Mr Clarke QC said last orders had been called and the landlord was
tidying up when the door opened and a man wearing a balaclava stepped
in.

‘The gunman took a single step into the pub and lifted his right
arm,’ Mr Clarke said. ‘In his outstretched hand was a gun. The gun was
fired.’

Drinkers in the pub saw Mark Short fall to the floor and three
more men – John Collins, Michael Belcher and Ryan Pridding – were also
hit.

David Short, 46, had gone to the toilet at the time of the shooting and
returned to find his son fatally wounded on the pub floor. Mark Short,
23, died in his father’s arms.

Armed: Policemen stand outside Preston Crown Court as prison vehicles arrive on the first day of the trial

Family: Clare Curran (left), the partner of PC
Fiona Bone, and June and Paul Bone (right), the late police constable’s
parents, arrive at Preston Crown Court today

Relatives: Bryn Hughes, the father of PC Nicola
Hughes, and his partner Natalie (left) arrive at Preston Crown Court
with PC Hughes’s mother Susan Hughes (right)

Less than three months later, David Short himself was shot dead in a gun and grenade attack at his home.

Mr Clarke said: ‘David Short was . . . chased through his house, being shot as he ran.

‘He was murdered in a hail of gunfire from two weapons carried by Cregan and Wilkinson.’

He added: ‘David Short had been shot at least nine times to his head and
body. He was chased from his kitchen, into his conservatory and
outside.

‘He eventually fell in an alleyway at the side of his house. A grenade was then thrown on to him, causing massive injuries.’

Protection: An armed police officer stands guard outside Preston Crown Court ahead of Dale Cregan’s arrival

Also dead: Cregan is accused of the murders of David Short (left), 46, and his son, Mark (right), 23, in the months before allegedly killing the Greater Manchester Police constables

Tests on bullet casings found at the scene of the shooting showed they were typical of those used in a Glock pistol.

Mr Clarke said: ‘This was the Glock that Cregan would use again on
September 18, 2012, when he murdered PC Fiona Bone and PC Nicola
Hughes.’

Cregan, originally from Droylsden, Manchester, pleaded not guilty to
four charges of murder, four attempted murders and one of causing an
explosion. Leon Atkinson, Livesey, Gorman, Hadfield, James, Wilkinson,
Francis Dixon, 37, Jermaine Ward, 24, and Mohammed Ali, 26, all pleaded
not guilty to a variety of offences.

The trial continues.

 VIDEO  Families of PC Hughes and PC Bone attend Preston Crown Court 

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Convoy: Dale Cregan arrived at Preston Crown Court in the morning under armed police escort and guard

 VIDEO  Mark Short shot at Cotton Tree pub in Droylsden on May 25, 2012

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Watching out: Armed police officers stand guard outside Preston Crown Court (identities obscured)

Journey: The second of two police convoys drives along the M61 in Bolton towards Preston Crown Court

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