UK & World News

  • 9 February 2013, 1:02

Cregan 'Celebrated' Night Before PC Murders

A wanted man accused of killing two police officers ordered beer and cigars the night before their murders because "he knew it was his last night of freedom", a court has heard.

Dale Cregan denies murdering PC Fiona Bone, 32, and PC Nicola Hughes, 23, in a residential street in Manchester.

Relatives of the two police officers allegedly shot dead by gunman Cregan wept as they heard how the two unarmed victims were gunned down in a hail of 32 bullets.

Cregan launched a 31-second attack on the pair after luring them to a bogus burglary with a 999 call, a jury was told.

He ended the emergency call by telling the operator: "I'll be waiting," Preston Crown Court heard.

The jury was also how Cregan handed himself in to police at Hyde Police station after the shooting telling them: "Sorry about those two that have been killed, I wish it was men."

He allegedly went on: "I've dropped the gun at the scene and I've murdered two police officers. You were hounding my family so I took it out on yous (sic). I'm wanted by the police and I've just done two coppers."

The jury was shown video of the moment Cregan was arrested at the front desk of the police station.

He is seen speaking on his mobile phone, cradling it, after a police officer jumps over the front desk and handcuffs him.

The court heard the night before the attack, Cregan forced his way into a house in Abbey Gardens on the Hattersley Estate in Mottram, Greater Manchester, and sent the householder out to buy beer and cigars.

"Cregan knew this was to be his last night of freedom," said Nicholas Clarke QC, prosecuting, adding that the fugitive also tried to obtain some cocaine.

The following morning, on September 18, he took a bath and changed into new clothes before making the 999 call.

Mr Clarke told the jury: "He had carefully put in place a plan that he knew would ensure that an unsuspecting police officer or officers would be sent to the door, to attend to a householder who had been the victim of damage to his house.

"Cregan knew that the officers who attended would have no idea what would be waiting for them."

PC Hughes and PC Bone were assigned the call and made their way from Hyde Police station to the address.

"On arrival, the two officers stepped out of their van and walked forward the short distance to number 30.

"Cregan's carefully laid plan had been successful," said Mr Clarke.

"He had lured two unarmed officers to his door and he was armed, ready and waiting for them.

"As Nicola and Fiona walked through the small front garden, he opened the front door and immediately fired his Glock."

The jury heard how both officers were shot in the chest. The body armour they were wearing protected them and the bullets did not penetrate, the prosecution said.

The officers, the court heard, made a "tactical retreat".

"PC Fiona Bone moved to the right, getting out of the line of sight and PC Nicola Hughes turned to run up the path. As they retreated more shots were fired.

"PC Hughes was shot just below her armoured vest in the middle of her back and was immediately paralysed causing her to fall forwards onto the path.

"As she was falling or lying flat on her stomach she was shot three more times.

"Cregan then turned his attention to PC Fiona Bone. She was trapped in front of the lounge window and he discharged 24 shots at her. Some struck the officer, others the house," the court heard.

She managed to draw and fire her Taser but it was discharged into a hard surface, probably the paving, the jury was told.

The court was told that only a matter of seconds had passed between PC Hughes switching off the engine of their vehicle and PC Bone firing the Taser.

Mr Clarke said: "Most of the bullets struck her body armour or the wall at the front of the house but she was the central target."

PC Bone was shot between five and eight times receiving a total of eight gunshot-related injuries, the prosecution said.

"As she turned and fell one bullet managed to get through under her arm. She was killed by a perforating shot to the upper left side of her chest which caused fatal injuries to the top of her heart.

"Cregan wasn't finished. He turned his attention to PC Hughes and fired three more shots into the back and side of her head. She was shot eight times causing a total of seven gunshot-related injuries.".

Mr Clarke added: "Before he fled Abbey Gardens he made sure he left his usual calling card.

"He launched a fragmentation grenade back towards the garden of number 30 where the two police officers were lying on the floor."

Cregan denies the murders of PCs Bone and Hughes, the murders of Mark and David Short, the attempted murders of three others in a pub, and the attempted murder of a woman called Sharon Hark.

He also denies a single charge of causing an explosion.

The trial continues.

Advertisement