Dale Cregan 'ordered beer and cigars' before PC murders

Dale Cregan
Image caption Dale Cregan denies murder

A fugitive ordered beer and cigars the night before two police officers were murdered because he "knew it was his last night of freedom", a court heard.

Handing himself in after the officers were shot, Dale Cregan, 29, said he had "done two coppers" because police were "hounding my family", the court heard.

He was already the focus of a national manhunt, Preston Crown Court has heard.

He denies killing PCs Nicola Hughes and Fiona Bone in Greater Manchester last September and two other murders.

Mr Cregan was wanted for the murders of David Short, 46, and his son, Mark, 23, at the time PC Hughes, 23, and PC Bone, 32, were killed.

'I wish it was men'

After the officers were shot in Mottram, Mr Cregan drove to Hyde Police Station and told the counter clerk "I'm wanted by the police and I've done two coppers", the court heard.

He then told an officer "I dropped the gun at the scene and I've murdered two police officers," the jury was told.

Nicholas Clarke QC, prosecuting, said Mr Cregan had said the reason for the attack was that police "were hounding my family so I took it out on yous", before later adding that he was "sorry about those two that have been killed, I wish it was men".

The court earlier heard Mr Cregan forced his way into a house in Abbey Gardens on the Hattersley Estate in Mottram, the night before the murders of the PCs.

He was drinking and smoking and tried to obtain cocaine because he "knew it was his last night of freedom", the jury was told.

He is accused of luring the two PCs to the house the following day with a fake report of a domestic burglary.

Mr Clarke said: "Cregan had carefully put into place a plan that he knew would ensure that an unsuspecting police officer or police officers would be sent to the door.

"Cregan knew that the officers who attended would have no idea what would be waiting for them."

'Discharged 32 bullets'

The court was told he opened the front door and opened fire on the two officers as they entered the front garden.

PC Hughes ran down the path but Mr Cregan shot her in the back just below her armoured vest and she was "immediately paralysed", falling forwards on to the path.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionThe jury was played the bogus 999 call Dale Cregan allegedly made

"As she was falling or lying flat on her stomach, she was shot three more times," Mr Clarke continued.

He said Mr Cregan had then fired 24 shots at PC Bone, who had managed to draw and fire her Taser stun gun, and hit her between five and eight times.

He discharged 32 bullets as he shot at the two unarmed officers and then threw a grenade at their bodies as he fled, the court heard.

Mr Cregan is the only one of the 10 men on trial accused of the PC killings.

Five other men are also accused of the murder of Mark Short, and three others of the murder of David Short.

'Family feud'

Mr Short was killed in a gun and grenade attack at his home in Clayton in August.

His son, Mark, was shot at the Cotton Tree pub in Droylsden, Greater Manchester, in May as part of a long-running family feud, the court heard.

Anthony Wilkinson, 33, one of those accused of the murder of David Short, told police he "accidentally" fired his gun, the jury was told.

But prosecutors said the Glock's safety features meant this was not possible, adding the shots were "the result of an assassin's deliberate, repeated pulling of the trigger".

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. All six defendants deny the charges.

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.

They all deny the charges.

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. They deny the charges.

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