UK & World News

  • 12 December 2013, 3:18

Dale Cregan: Police Call-Handler's 'Help'

A police call-handler fed secret information to her boyfriend during the manhunt for his friend Dale Cregan, a court has heard.

Kathryn Smith, 25, allegedly accessed files outlining the movement of firearms officers and confidential calls from the public concerning the case.

She is then said to have passed on the sensitive information to her boyfriend Sean Booth, 31, a close friend of Cregan.

At one point her information is said to have enabled Cregan's mother Anita to identify and confront a member of public who had called the police.

Smith was arrested in September 2012 after her mobile phone and computer records were examined by detectives.

Cregan had already murdered father and son Mark and David Short. Days after Smith's arrest he went on to murder Greater Manchester police officers Nicola Hughes and Fiona Bone.

Manchester Crown Court has been told that the call handler frequently sent text messages to her boyfriend with details of police operations.

At the time Greater Manchester Police had mounted their biggest ever manhunt. A £50,000 reward had been offered for information leading to Cregan's arrest.

The court heard that after Smith passed information to her boyfriend, he in turn passed it to Cregan's family.

A microphone hidden by the police at Anita Cregan's house as part of their search for her son picked up conversations in which she discussed the confidential information.

In one she is alleged to have said: "I've just text somebody saying we've got a grass in the street ... it's surprising what fifty grand will solve innit. I can't f*****g believe it."

Booth is then said to have texted his girlfriend saying:  "U can't get in trouble don't worry. I would not put u in a position where u could b."

Smith allegedly replied: "Well I do worry how are u going to explain how u know things to anita? I'm scared, I hate it that you're an associate."

Smith denies a charge of misconduct in a public office. Cregan and Smith deny aiding and abetting the call handler.

The trial is expected to last six days.

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