Belfast Telegraph

Monday 28 July 2014

Estate raided weeks before murders

Dale Cregan
Greater Manchester Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy lays flowers near to the scene where Pcs Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes were killed
Floral tributes near the scene where Pcs Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes were killed in Hattersley, Tameside

Armed police staged a raid at a housing estate weeks before two officers were targeted at an address there in a fatal gun and grenade attack, sources have confirmed.

A search took place on the morning of August 16 at a house on the Hattersley estate in Greater Manchester as part of the investigation to trace wanted murder suspect Dale Cregan.

Pc Nicola Hughes, 23, and Pc Fiona Bone, 32, were killed at a different address on the estate on Tuesday when they responded to a report of a burglary in the area.

Cregan has been charged with the murders of Pcs Hughes and Bone, the murders of father and son David and Mark Short on separate dates, and four counts of attempted murder. He will appear from custody at Manchester City Magistrates' Court on Friday morning.

It is understood that no arrest was made in relation to the August 16 search. No-one from Greater Manchester Police was available for comment.

Following the deaths of Pc Hughes and Pc Bone, the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, Sir Peter Fahy, said the house in Abbey Gardens where the officers were called to was not known to them.

"It has not featured in this particularly huge inquiry we have undertaken. So it would be routine to have unarmed officers sent to the scene," he said.

The investigation into the murders of David and Mark Short involved officers on armed patrol 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in the Clayton and Droylsden areas, he added.

But he explained that "clearly we cannot send armed officers to the hundreds of incidents we get not only in these areas but also in other areas".

He said: "These were two officers going about their normal duties. Like all officers, they went to a variety of incidents not knowing what it was that they would face."

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