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


One-eyed fugitive Dale Cregan 'lured unarmed police officers into trap before opening fire and throwing grenade at them'
Dale Cregan, 29, had 'evaded nationwide manhunt when he set the trap'Cregan is accused of murders of David Short, 46, and his son Mark, 23Also allegedly killed PCs Nicola Hughes, 23, and Fiona Bone, 32, last year

he called in a spurious burglary at Abbey Gardens in Hattersley, luring two unarmed police officers to investigate,’ Mr Clarke said. ‘He lay in wait with a Glock firearm with an extended magazine that was fully loaded.

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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

'PC Fiona Bone and PC Nicola Hughes attended. As soon as they arrived Cregan shot the officers repeatedly, until his magazine was empty. As he left the scene he again threw a grenade towards the victims.’

Mr Clarke began by telling the jury that Mark Short was shot at the Cotton Tree pub in Droylsden, Manchester, on May 25 last year.

He said: ‘At the time that his son Mark was shot, David Short, the head of the Short family, was using the toilet. Otherwise he himself would have been a target. His son died in his arms.’

After Mr Short was buried at Droylsden cemetery, his father went on a daily basis to his grave to grieve, the jury were told.

An armed police officers stands guard outside Preston Crown Court

An armed police officers stands guard outside Preston Crown Court

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

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

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

But on the morning of August 10 he
was at home – when his killers came calling. ‘He was chased through the
house and shot many times,’ Mr Clarke continued.

'He
lay in wait with a Glock firearm with an extended magazine that was
fully loaded. PC Fiona Bone and PC Nicola Hughes attended. As soon as
they arrived Cregan shot the officers repeatedly, until his magazine was
empty'

Nicholas Clarke QC, prosecuting

‘He tried to run around the side of
the house to escape. His injuries were already unsurvivable and then a
grenade was thrown onto him.

‘Its
explosion had devastating consequences for his torso. It is the first
time in this country that a military grenade has been deployed in this
way.’

Mr Clarke told the jury about the background to the murder of Mark Short at the Cotton Tree pub.

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

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

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

Clare Curran the partner of Pc Fiona Bone, arrives at Preston Crown Court

June and Paul Bone the parents of Pc Fiona Bone, arrive at Preston Crown Court

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

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

'The Short family had been involved for a number of years in a long-standing feud with members of the another local family, the Atkinsons. The families had reached a state of uneasy peace following their lengthy dispute'

Nicholas Clarke QC, prosecuting

But the court heard that on May 13, there was a row in the Gardeners Arms pub which carried on into the Cotton Tree. The row was between Theresa Atkinson – dubbed ‘the matriarch of the Atkinson family’ – and Raymond Young, a member of the Short family.

Mr Clarke said: ‘Theresa Atkinson was drunk and lashed out with a bottle, striking Young. It led to Raymond Young backhanding Theresa Atkinson.’

The jury was told she responded by
shouting: ‘I'm going to get you done by my sons, I'm gonna get you done
by my sons.’ She also said: ‘You just wait here, you're dead.’

Bryn Hughes the father of PC Nicola Hughes, who was killed in a gun and grenade attack last year, and his partner Natalie,

The mother of Pc Nicola Hughes, Susan Hughes arrives at Preston Crown Court

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)

Mr Clarke told the court that after this incident Theresa Atkinson repeatedly tried to contact her son Leon's mobile phone and they spoke the next morning.

Mr Clarke said that straight after that call Leon Atkinson contacted his two brothers and sent a text message to his ‘old friend’ Dale Cregan, who then began making contact with the other defendants alleged to be involved with the Cotton Tree murder.

Mr Clarke said: ‘Livsey, James and Hadfield were being recruited to the plan, hatched by Atkinson and Cregan for revenge.’

He added: ‘They decided to exact revenge
for the lack of respect shown to Theresa Atkinson and so the shootings
at the Cotton Tree were a direct reprisal.’

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

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

The jury heard on the night of May 25 the Short family and friends gathered at the Cotton Tree pub for drinks.

Mr Clarke said police analysis showed the defendants accused of the murder of Mark Short were in ‘close contact’ in the hours before the shooting.

The prosecution claims Atkinson, 35, from Ashton-under-Lyne, travelled to a caravan park in Prestatyn, North Wales, to give himself an ‘incontrovertible alibi’.

Cregan, Luke Livesey, 27, from Hattersley, and Damian Gorman, 37, from Glossop, were to carry out the attack.

Ryan Hadfield, 28, from Droylsden, and
Matthew James, 33, from Clayton, were to act as ‘spotters’ to ensure the
targets – the Short family – were in the pub.

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

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

James was outside having a cigarette when more of the Short party arrived – then made a hasty exit, jumping in someone else's taxi that had been called to the pub.

Phone records showed James then called Cregan who was with Livesey, a call that ‘initiated the chain of events that followed’, Mr Clarke said.

Cregan then called Atkinson in Wales who was ‘managing and directing’ the operation to discuss their plan to ‘exact revenge’ on the Shorts.

The court heard that police investigations tracked Cregan and his co-accused through their mobile phones.

CCTV was then played to the jury which
showed a blue Ford Focus car pulling up outside the Cotton Tree at
11.49pm. The prosecution say that Cregan, Livesey and Gorman were the
men in the car.

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

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The Ford can be seen putting on its hazard lights and pulling up at the side of the pub before a figure runs out of the car and into the building.

Mr Clarke said Raymond Young was in the bar and saw the door open. He saw the gunman enter wearing a black balaclava.

‘In his outstretched hand was a gun. The gun was fired. Mark Short was nearest to the door when the gunman came in,’ Mr Clarke said.

Mark Short fell to the ground as the firing continued, focused on the people stood around a pool table. Three more men, John Collins, Michael Belcher and Ryan Pridding, were also hit and fell to the floor.

Mr Clarke said: ‘After firing seven shots in quick succession, the gunman left through the door that he had entered and jumped back into the front passenger seat of the waiting Ford Focus.’

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

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

Cregan, Leon Atkinson, Livesey, Gorman, Hadfield and James all deny the murder of Mark Short and the attempted murder of three others in the pub at the time: Mr Collins, Mr Pridding and Mr Belcher.

Accused of the murder of David Short are Cregan, Francis Dixon, 37, from Stalybridge, Anthony Wilkinson, 38, from Manchester, and Jermaine Ward, 24. 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.

They deny all the charges. Wilkinson is additionally charged with possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life, which he denies.

Mohammed Ali, 23, from Chadderton, Greater Manchester, is accused of assisting an offender. He denies the charge.

Cregan alone is charged with the murder of the two police officers, which he denies. All the charges span between May 25 and September 18 last year. The trial continues.