PCs shot ‘until gun was empty’
Reporter: PAT HURST and PAUL KEAVENY
Date online: 08 February 2013
THE man accused of killing two Greater Manchester policewomen fired his gun until it was empty before throwing a hand grenade at them, a court was told.
Dale Cregan (29) had lured PCs Nicola Hughes, (23), of Diggle, and Fiona Bone (32), from Sale, into the trap with a bogus burglary call - before opening fire on the unarmed women, Preston Crown Court was told. It is the first time a military grenade has been used in England in such a murder.
PC Hughes's mother Susan and father Bryn sat in front of the parents of her murdered colleague, Paul and June Bone and Miss Bone's partner Clare Curran, in the public gallery just yards from where Cregan sat in the dock.
The killings came after Cregan had spent weeks on the run following a revenge attack during a simmering family feud in east Manchester. Cregan is alleged to have murdered head of the Short family, David Short (46) and his son, Mark (23) who had rowed with another local family, the Atkinsons, in the months before the killings.
Nicholas Clarke QC for the prosecution said Cregan called police to a bogus burglary at Abbey Gardens in Hattersley.
“He lay in wait with a Glock firearm with an extended magazine that was fully loaded,” he said. “As soon as they arrived, Cregan shot the officers until his magazine was empty. As he left the scene he threw a grenade towards the victims.”
Earlier the court heard the first murder was of Mark Short, who was shot at the Cotton Tree pub in Droylsden on May 25 last year.
The prosecutor said the “uneasy peace” between the Shorts and the Atkinsons broke down during a drunken row on May 13, a couple of weeks before Mark Short was killed.
Theresa Atkinson — the matriarch of the Atkinson family — bottled Raymond Young of the Shorts.
Young hit her with the back of his hand, causing Atkinson to recruit her son Leon, who decided to take revenge for the lack of “respect”.
Using his old friend Cregan, a murder team was put together with the other defendants - Luke Livesey, Matthew James, Ryan Hadfield and Damian Gorman, all alleged to be involved in the Cotton Tree murder. On the night of May 25, the Short family and friends gathered at the pub for drinks.
Leon Atkinson (35), from Ashton, travelled to Prestatyn, North Wales, to give himself an “incontrovertible alibi” while Cregan, Livesey (27), from Hattersley, and Gorman (37), from Glossop, would carry out the attack.
Hadfield (28), from Droylsden, and James (33), from Clayton, were to act as “spotters” to ensure the Short family were in the pub. Cregan, Livesey and Gorman pulled up outside while a balaclava-clad gunman entered the pub.
“Mark Short was nearest to the door when the gunman came in,” Mr Clarke said.
Mark Short fell to the ground, and three more men were also hit.
Cregan and the Atkinsons then made a plan to murder David Short, the court heard. Cregan met Anthony Wilkinson (38), Jermaine Ward (24), and Francis Dixon (37), on August 9 and intended to kill Short the next day.
They hired a van and took a car to Short’s home. He was unloading his car as they arrived and Cregan and Wilkinson opened fire. Short was chased through his home and shot as he ran. As he lay stricken, a grenade was thrown which destroyed the upper left side of his body.
The defendants deny all the charges.