Policewomen murder trial to begin

Final preparations have been made for the trial of a man accused of murdering two policewomen in a gun and grenade attack.

Dale Cregan, 29, appeared by video link at Preston Crown Court ahead of his trial, starting next week.

Police constables Nicola Hughes, 23, and Fiona Bone, 32, were killed last September as they responded to a report of a burglary in Hattersley, Greater Manchester.

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Cregan has previously pleaded not guilty to murdering the two officers and the murders of Mark Short, 23, in Manchester last May and his father David almost three months later.

Amateur boxer Mr Short junior was gunned down at a pub in Droylsden, Manchester, and his 46-year-old father was found dead on August 10 following a blast at a house in nearby Clayton.

Cregan, of no fixed address, was among nine other defendants, all appearing by video link at Preston, who will go on trial on Monday.

Matthew James, 33, from Clayton, denies the murder of Mark Short and the attempted murders of three others injured in the attack on the pub.

Francis Dixon, 37, from Stalybridge, denies the murder of David Short, the attempted murder of Sharon Hark and one count of causing an explosion with a grenade. Mohammed Ali, 23, from Chadderton, denied assisting an offender.

Luke Livesey, 27, from Hattersley; Damian Gorman, 37, from Glossop; Ryan Hadfield, 28, from Droylsden; and Leon Atkinson, 35, from Ashton-under-Lyne, have denied the murder of Mark Short and three counts of attempted murder.

Anthony Wilkinson, 33, from Beswick, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of David Short, possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life, attempted murder and causing an explosion with a grenade.

Jermaine Ward, 24, denies the murder of David Short, one count of attempted murder and an allegation of causing an explosion with a grenade.