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Cregan not guilty pleas 'bizarre'


Convicted killer Dale Cregan is being tried for the murder of David Short

Convicted killer Dale Cregan is being tried for the murder of David Short


Convicted killer Dale Cregan is being tried for the murder of David Short

One-eyed police killer Dale Cregan "bizarrely" pleaded not guilty to two murders despite admitting them "numerous times", a jury has been told.

His confession that he killed one man in a gun and grenade attack was the "worst kept secret in Strangeways", Preston Crown Court heard.

In his closing speech, prosecutor Nicholas Clarke QC said though that Cregan had a right to a trial and for the jury to reach the correct verdicts.

Cregan, 29, changed his pleas to guilty to murdering police constables Fiona Bone, 32, and Nicola Hughes, 23, in the second week of the trial which began in February but has continued to deny the murders of David Short, 46, and his son, Mark, 23.

He lured the unarmed policewomen with a bogus police call before using a Glock handgun and a military grenade to kill them in Hattersley, Greater Manchester, on September 18 last year.

Mr Clarke said the murder of David Short the previous month in the Cotton Tree pub was done in a similar manner using the same gun and the same type of grenade. "Essentially it was the same way," he explained. "The surprise ambush, the hail of gunfire and the gratuitous throwing of his calling card (the grenade)."

CCTV footage of him attempting to fire a Glock handgun and throwing a grenade at the home of another intended victim shortly after the killing of Mr Short was "the most obvious evidence against him", he said. "But bizarrely he has pleaded not guilty," said Mr Clarke. "It is his right to have a trial and for you to reach the correct verdict."

The Cotton Tree shooting was said to have been ordered by Leon Atkinson, 35, from Ashton-under-Lyne, and that Cregan recruited Luke Livesey, 27, from Hattersley, Damian Gorman, 37, from Glossop, Ryan Hadfield, 28, from Droylsden, and Matthew James, 33, from Clayton, for the task. They all deny the murder of Mark Short on May 25 and the attempted murder of three others in the pub at the time; John Collins, Ryan Pridding and Michael Belcher.

Anthony Wilkinson, 33, from Beswick, pleaded guilty during the trial to murdering David Short, 46, on August 10. He denies one count of the attempted murder of Sharon Hark in Droylsden on the same day and causing an explosion with a hand-grenade.

Cregan, Francis Dixon, 37, from Stalybridge, and Jermaine Ward, 24, all deny the above charges relating to David Short and Sharon Hark. Mohammed Ali, 23, from Chadderton, denies assisting an offender.s