Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Manchester police chief's feud warning as second man held in hunt

Dale Cregan
PC Nicola Hughes was killed in the line of duty while attending a 'routine incident' (Greater Manchester Police/PA)
Pc Fiona Bone was in the process of arranging her wedding before being killed (Greater Manchester Police/PA)

A second man has been arrested in connection with the murder of two unarmed female police officers as the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police warned that the spiral of violence that led to the shootings might continue.

Sir Peter Fahy said that officers could not be sure that all the grenades associated with the tragedy had been recovered from the estate in Hattersley where PC Nicola Hughes and PC Fiona Bone died in a gun and grenade attack as they answered a routine burglary report on Tuesday.

He said the feud which sparked the series of events leading to the tragedy could still be active with officers and others at risk. Police have issued Osman warnings — notices given to people under threat of being murdered or at risk of serious injury — to “a large number of individuals”, he said.

Meanwhile, it was confirmed that a 28-year-old man had been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder as officers continued to question Dale Cregan (29) over the officers' deaths. Cregan (right) is also being questioned over the deaths of father and son David and Mark Short.

“I would want that to be the message, this has been a long-standing criminal feud between different outfits in Manchester and in the Tameside area, and that threat is very much there,” said Sir Peter.

Messages of support continued to flood in for the fallen officers including from the Queen who spoke of her distress at the murders. The Home Secretary Theresa May cut short her holiday to visit Greater Manchester Police while fellow officers and well-wishers laid flowers at the scene of the attack where a minute's silence was observed.

The force said it had been “overwhelmed” by messages of support on its website, and via Facebook and Twitter.

Police were forced to explain their decision to release Cregan on bail in connection with a previous killing, insisting that they did not have enough evidence to charge him. It also emerged that one of the officers had drawn their Taser prior to being shot.

Friends and neighbours of PC Bone (32) described her as a “kind, loving, gentle, funny, caring” woman who was in the middle of planning a civil ceremony for her same-sex partnership when she was killed.

The family of PC Hughes (23) said she had always wanted to make a difference to her community.

Her mother Susan, father Bryn and younger brother Sam issued a statement saying: “Nicola was our only daughter and a beautiful child. She was always happy with life and lived for her family.

“She had an infectious personality and sense of humour and was a very caring and loving girl.”

Former PSNI Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde compared how Cregan was able to operate in Manchester with how paramilitaries were protected by communities in Northern Ireland.

“If people are terrified of an individual then I can understand why people feel that they don't want to step forward. It is something I had to deal with in my time in Northern Ireland,” he said.

However, calls to routinely arm police officers have been rejected by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

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