Dale Cregan – change of plea to the murders of two police officers

Cregan

Dale Cregan was charged with the murder of David Short, his son Mark Short, and PCs Nicola Hughes and Fiona Bone.

He was indicted with nine other defendants who were variously charged with assisting in one of the murders or firearms offences. There is a complicated factual background. So who is charged with what?

The first murders

The MEN reported that Mr Cregan, Leon Atkinson, Luke Livesey, Damian Gorman, Ryan Hadfield and Matthew James, 33, are all accused of the murder of Mark Short and the attempted murders of three others – John Collins, Ryan Pridding and Michael Belcher.

Mr Cregan, Francis Dixon, Anthony Wilkinson, and Jermaine Ward, 24 are all accused of the murder of David Short. All four are also jointly accused of the attempted murder of Sharon Hark on the same day, and a single charge of causing an explosion.

Mr Wilkinson is additionally charged with possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life and Mohammed Ali, 32, is accused of assisting an offender.

The second murders

At the time of the second murders, Cregan was already being hunted in connection with the murders of Mark Short, 23, and his father, David, 46, earlier in the year. Mark Short was shot dead at the Cotton Tree public house, Droylsden, east Manchester, on 25 May. His father died after being chased around his home by two gunmen on 10 August.

Cregan laid a trap for the two officers by ringing 999 and telling the operator someone had thrown a concrete slab through a rear window at 30 Abbey Gardens, Mottram, and run away.

He claimed he had seen the direction of the offender’s flight and would be able to point it out to any officer who attended.

PCs Bone and Hughes attended the house which Cregan had taken over the night before. The Guardian reported that the prosecution stated:

 

“As Nicola and Fiona walked through the small front garden, he opened the front door and immediately fired his Glock.

“Both officers were shot to the chest. The body armour they were wearing protected them and the bullets did not penetrate.”

The officers made a tactical retreat, PC Bone moving to the right – out of the line of fire – and her colleague turning to run up the path. As they retreated, more shots were fired. PC Hughes was shot, just below her armoured vest, in the middle of her back, and was immediately paralysed, causing her to fall forwards onto the path.

“As she was falling or lying flat on her stomach, she was shot three more times.”

Clarke went on: “Cregan then turned his attention to PC Bone. She was trapped in front of the lounge and he discharged 24 shots at her. Some struck the officer, others the house. She managed to draw and fire her Taser, but it was discharged into a hard surface, probably the paving.

“Fiona was shot between five and eight times, receiving a total of eight gunshot-related injuries … She was killed by a perforating shot to the upper side of her chest.”Cregan was not finished, said Clarke. He turned back to PC Hughes who lay paralysed on the floor and shot her six more times, in the back and the side of her head. Four of the shots caused potentially fatal wounds.

Finally, just before speeding away from the cul-de-sac in a BMW, he launched a fragmentation grenade towards the garden where the officers were lying prone. The grenade caused further injuries to PC Hughes but did not contribute to her death.

Cregan then handed himself in to the police.

Change of plea

On Tuesday, Cregan indicated his desire to change his plea to guilty on the two counts alleging the murder of PCs Bone and Hughes. It is unclear what initiated this change of heart, and as the trial on the other counts continues, we should not speculate.

Only Cregan was charged with the murders of the police officers.

The trial continues on the other counts and so there ought to be no speculation as to verdicts or possible sentence.

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2 thoughts on “Dale Cregan – change of plea to the murders of two police officers

  1. Pingback: Dale Cregan trial – CoDefendant changes his plea | UK Criminal Law Blog

  2. Pingback: Dale Cregan Murder Trial – Verdicts in | UK Criminal Law Blog

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