Dale Cregan: PCs murder trial starts

Dale Cregan trial Police were on patrol outside Preston Crown Court

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A man accused of murdering two police officers in Greater Manchester has appeared in court at the start of his trial.

Dale Cregan, 29, was at Preston Crown Court having denied the murders of PCs Nicola Hughes, 23, and Fiona Bone, 32, in a gun and grenade attack in Mottram last September.

He also denies murdering father and son David and Mark Short.

There are nine co-accused whose charges include murder and attempted murder.

Around 20 barristers, representing the defendants, sat in two rows as preliminary legal issues were discussed ahead of a jury being selected for the trial.

PCs Hughes and Bone were killed as they responded to a report of a burglary on the morning of 18 September.

Four months earlier, former amateur boxer Mark Short was gunned down at the Cotton Tree pub in Droylsden, Greater Manchester.

His 46-year-old father David was found dead on 10 August following a shooting and grenade attack at a house in nearby Clayton.

Explosion charge

Mr Cregan, Leon Atkinson, 35, from Ashton-under-Lyne, Luke Livesey, 27, from Hattersley, Damian Gorman, 38, from Glossop, Ryan Hadfield, 28, from Droylsden, and Matthew James, 33, from Clayton, are all accused of the murder of Mark Short and the attempted murders of three others in the pub at the time.

Accused of the murder of David Short are Mr 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.

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

Only Mr Cregan is charged with the murder of the two police officers.

The trial is expected to last 12 weeks.

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