Families sob as court told of Pcs’ deaths in hail of gunfire and grenade blast

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The families of two murdered policewomen sobbed in court as they listened to details of the “bloody conclusion” to Dale Cregan’s alleged string of attacks.

Cregan, 29, told police, “I’ll be waiting”, as he lured the unarmed officers with a bogus 999 call, Preston Crown Court was told.

When they arrived he opened fire with a handgun, pulling the trigger 32 times in a matter of seconds before leaving his “calling card” by throwing a military fragmentation grenade as his victims lay bleeding on the floor, it is claimed.

The court heard how Pc Fiona Bone, 32, fell in a hail of 24 bullets when she drew her Taser. He is also accused of blasting Pc Nicola Hughes, 23, in the head three times as she lay on the floor.

After the attack “calm and casual” Cregan, who had put on new clothes and had a haircut on his last night of freedom, handed himself in to police saying: “I’m wanted by the police and I’ve just done two coppers,” the jury heard.

As Nicholas Clarke QC, detailed the officers’ final moments, their family in the public gallery could not contain their emotions. As Pc Bone’s sister Vicky began to cry her mother June put a consoling arm around her shoulder.

Pc Bone’s partner Clare Curran sat motionless, looking down at the floor, while the officer’s father Paul Bone, looked blankly across the courtroom, his left hand holding his chin and a finger to his lips.

Pc Hughes’s mother Susan sat hunched weeping while her father Bryn hugged his new partner Natalie as she wiped away tears.

Cregan denies murdering the officers and also the murder of father and son David and Mark Short. The violence started after a “simmering feud” between two Manchester families, it is alleged.

At 10.11am on September 18, Cregan made a 999 call, played to the jury, purporting to be “Adam Gartree” and reported that somebody had thrown a “big concrete slab” through his back window.

He was told an officer would be sent within the hour. He responded: “Thank’s very much. I’ll be waiting.”

The officers arrived at the house at 10.52am. “As Nicola and Fiona walked through the small front garden, he opened the front door and immediately fired his Glock,” Mr Clarke said.

The hearing continues.