I DID KILL TWO COPPERS
Dale Cregan changes plea mid-trial – but denies two other murders
THE 29-YEAR-OLD man accused of murdering two unarmed female police officers in a gun and grenade attack admitted killing them.
Originally, Dale Cregan had denied killing PCs Fiona Bone, 32, and Nicola Hughes, 23, in Mottram, Gtr Manchester, last September.
But in a shocking and dramatic twist at his trial yesterday Cregan changed his plea and admitted murdering the pair.
He denies the murders of father and son David and Mark Short.
Earlier in the trial, which began at Preston Crown Court last week, the jury heard how Cregan lured PCs Bone and Hughes to a house by saying a burglary had taken place.
The court heard he rang 999 and told police, ‘I’ll be waiting’ during the bogus call.
When the two female officers arrived at the scene, Cregan fired his Glock pistol 32 times, before leaving his ‘calling card’ in the form of a military grenade, which he threw as his victims lay on the ground, the court heard.
Last week, Nicholas Clarke QC, prosecuting, described how PC Bone was shot up to 24 times as she tried to draw her Taser in her defence.
And PC Hughes was shot, first in the back as she tried to run away and then in the head three times as she lay motionless on the floor.
The jury was also told that Cregan, who was ‘calm and casual’, dressed in new clothes and with a fresh haircut, later handed himself in at Hyde police station, saying, ‘I’m wanted by the police and I’ve just done two coppers’.
Both officers’ families sobbed in court last week as their children’s final moments were described.
However, neither family was in court to hear Cregan plead guilty to the two murders after his lawyer Simon Csoka asked for the charges involving the officers to be read again.
Once he’d entered the pleas, Judge Mr Justice Holroyde asked the jury foreman to record guilty verdicts on the indictments relating to the murder of the officers.
At the time of the officers’ murders, Cregan was wanted by police in connection with the murders of David and Mark Short.
He is alleged to have killed Mark in the Cotton Tree Pub in Droylsden, Gtr Manchester, on May 25 and David on August 10, at his home in Clayton, Gtr Manchester.
Yesterday, the court was told Cregan had been recruited by his friend Leon Atkinson to kill the father and son.
It is alleged that Atkinson’s mum Theresa Atkinson – who the court heard was ‘bladdered’ made a pass at David Short, 46, at the Cotton Tree Pub in Droylsden and that he turned her down, sparking a row.
The row worsened when Raymond Short, another member of the Short family, physically assaulted Mrs Atkinson, the jury was told.
Mr Young, who told the hearing he was sitting on a stool with his back to her when she hit him on the head with a bottle, continued: “I stood up, turned around and took the bottle off her. She grabbed another one, that clipped my nose.
“She grabbed another one off the table, I took it off her, gave her a backhand and pushed her towards the door.
“She was going mad, ballistic, pointing at me, ‘You wait here, you are dead’ saying to Dave, ‘I would get off from here’ running around with her phone, lunatic.”
Following the row, Leon Atkinson is said to have got in touch with Mr Young, who declined his offer to meet and sort out the issue.
David and Mark Short were killed within weeks of the argument, with the latter’s girlfriend Michelle Kelly telling the court a balaclava-clad gunman had stormed in and shot her son Mark, 23, before his dad David died in a gun and grenade attack.
Cregan is accused of carrying out both attacks and there are also nine co-accused, whose charges include murder and attempted murder of the father and son.
The trial continues.
ACCUSED: Cregan ( and ( PCs Nicola Hughes and Fiona
IN COURT: An artist’s impression of Cregan ( and ( victims David and Mark Short