Manchester

PC Nicola Hughes: Father recalls 'wicked sense of humour'

Image caption Bryn and Nat Hughes said Nicola enjoyed having fun

The father of murdered PC Nicola Hughes said once his daughter had decided to become a police officer, he knew she would never change her mind.

"She was very determined about everything," Bryn Hughes said.

"Even at 19 years old, as she was at the time, she was determined to join the police and that's what she went out and did.

"For her there was no alternative, there was no detracting from it. Whatever she did she was focused."

PC Hughes, 23, died alongside PC Fiona Bone, 32, when they were called to what appeared to be a routine burglary report in Mottram in September.

The unarmed officers were were shot and attacked with a grenade by Dale Cregan, who received a whole life jail term after admitting their murders.

'People warmed to her'

Mr Hughes said he had always been "very, very proud" of his daughter.

"She'd always been a helpful, caring person," he said.

Image caption PC Nicola Hughes died alongside PC Fiona Bone

"I think that was the attraction of being a police officer, being in a community helping people.

"There weren't any fears or reservations. You could rely on Nicola not to make any rash decisions and she loved it.

"She didn't enjoy the shifts and the cold and the rain, but she enjoyed the job."

Her stepmother Nat said PC Hughes was "a really fun person to be around and a really genuine person".

"I think that's why people warmed to her, because she was just so easy to like and want to be around," she said.

Mrs Hughes added: "Right from the early days of myself and Bryn being together, Nicola was very open to that and treated me like part of the family.

"We had a close relationship and I thought the world of her.

'Fun side of life'

"The last thing I ever said to her on the phone was 'I love you' and she said 'love you too'. She wouldn't say it if she didn't mean it."

Mr Hughes also recalls his daughter's "really wicked sense of humour".

"She found things really funny and she enjoyed having a laugh and socialising and that's what she really took a lot of pleasure in.

"She had numerous friends who she socialised with and it was always fun, always pictures of her laughing.

"She always saw the fun side of life."

The family are still finding it difficult to deal with her loss and hope now the trial is over they will be left to grieve in private.

Mr Hughes said at first he coped "hour by hour, minute by minute and slowly it's progressed to day by day".

"You've got the support of the police, the support of our employers.

"They've all been so unbelievably caring and supportive and I don't think we'd have got through without that help," he said.

"The funeral was overwhelming but it made you really proud to know all that was for Nicola.

"We were prepared for Manchester itself being packed with people standing outside the cathedral but from the moment we left Nicola's house there were just people lining the streets and it was overwhelming.

"It's helped us know we're not on our own.

"I've always been proud of Nicola. She was never a child that you think 'I'm worried about her or what's she done now?'.

"She always made me feel a massive, massive sense of pride.

"She always wanted to make a difference and ultimately I think she has."