Armed guard as Cregan faces court over police killings

Armed police guard the streets near Manchester Magistrates Court. Below: Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy lays flowers near to the scene where Pcs Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes were killed
Armed police guard the streets near Manchester Magistrates Court. Below: Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy lays flowers near to the scene where Pcs Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes were killed
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ONE-EYED Dale Cregan appeared in court today accused of four murders including the shooting and grenade attack that killed two policewomen.

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Greater Manchester Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy lays flowers near to the scene where Pcs Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes were killed were killed

Greater Manchester Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy lays flowers near to the scene where Pcs Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes were killed were killed

Pcs Fiona Bone, 32, and Nicola Hughes, 23, described as “wonderful human beings” and dedicated police officers, died in Hattersley, Tameside, on Tuesday morning.

The defendant also faced charges of murdering father and son David and Mark Short earlier this year and four attempted murders.

Cregan, wearing a dark blue sweatshirt, was brought into court at 10.08am for the hearing, which lasted just two minutes at Manchester City Magistrates’ Court.

Cregan, who has lost one eye, was brought into the secure dock flanked by four police officers.

Two more officers dressed in military-style fatigues and armed with machine guns stood outside the dock.

Cregan, who has grown a thick beard, scanned the courtroom and stared over at the public gallery, where relatives of the Short family were seated.

Cregan sat down as he was brought into the dock but got to his feet after he was asked to stand by District Judge Jonathan Taaffe.

He wore a false black onyx eye in his left eye socket and spoke only to confirm his name and date of birth to the courtroom, which was packed with reporters.

Judge Taaffe then read out the eight charges the defendant faces, including that of murdering the two officers.

The double killing provoked national shock and outrage after the unarmed policewoman were lured by a routine burglary call to a house on the sprawling Hattersley estate.

Cregan was arrested a short time later after walking into Hyde Police Station two miles away.

The 29-year-old was already wanted by police in relation to the murders of David and Mark Short in separate attacks in May and August this year.

He has been charged with those two murders and also faces four further counts of attempted murder of three men and one woman who were either injured or present during the attacks on Mr Short senior and junior.

The court heard that the four murder charges and four attempted murder charges were so serious they could only be dealt with by law at a higher court and the case was automatically sent to Manchester Crown Court for a further hearing on Monday.

“You will be remanded into custody until that time, please go with the officers,” the district judge told Cregan.

There was no application for bail by Cregan’s solicitor, David Caplin.

Mark Short, 23, died from a gunshot wound to his neck after a gunman entered a pub and opened fire, around 11.50pm at the the Cotton Tree Inn, on Market Street, in Droylsden, Tameside, on May 25.

Cregan is also accused of the attempted murders of Michael Belcher, Ryan Pridding and John Short, who were in the pub at the time.

Eleven weeks later on August 10 the victim’s father David Short, 46, died in a grenade and gun attack on his home on Folkestone Road East, in Clayton, Manchester, at around 10.30am.

Less than ten minutes later on the same day there was another grenade explosion less than half a mile away on Luke Road, Droylsden.

Cregan faces a further allegation of attempted murder of Sharon Hark arising from the incidents on that day.

A huge security operation was mounted with the area both inside and outside the court building in Manchester city centre swamped with police.

Officers in high-viz yellow jackets stood guard on street corners on all the roads around the building.

Inside the court complex armed officers wearing dark glasses, black uniforms and carrying Heckler and Koch machine guns stood guard.

There were more armed officers outside court number 16, the courtroom where Cregan appeared.

The defendant arrived at the court complex in a convoy of police vehicles.

Officers surrounded the court building and as the van which held Cregan entered the court’s underground car park, four armed police officers emerged from a 4x4 to guard the gates.

After his brief court appearance, the same armed convoy sped away, taking the alleged police killer back to Manchester’s Strangeways prison.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that armed police staged a raid at the housing estate in Hattersley two weeks before the two officers were killed there.

A search took place on the morning of August 16 at a house near the murder scene as part of the hunt for Cregan, who was wanted at the time over the deaths of the Shorts. No arrest was made in relation to the August 16 search.

Greater Manchester Police have been given more time to question a 28-year-old man, named by sources as Stephen Garvey, who has been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder in relation to Pc Bone and Pc Hughes. This is due to expire at 9.15am tomorrow.

Following the deaths of the officers the Greater Manchester force has received over 30,000 messages on its online book of condolence, more than 20,000 have been posted on the force’s Facebook page and more than 1.3 million people have viewed the tribute to the officers on Facebook.

Police from across the country have also offered to provide cover so officers can attend the funerals of Pcs Bone and Hughes.

A 22-year-old, from Netherley, Merseyside, was bailed last night after he was arrested on Wednesday for setting up a Facebook page lauding Cregan as a “legend”.