UK & World News
Dale Cregan's Mother Cleared Over Police Info
The mother of police killer Dale Cregan has been cleared of aiding and abetting misconduct in a public office.
The jury took three hours to clear 56-year-old Anita Cregan and two others - Greater Manchester Police call handler Kathryn Smith and her ex-boyfriend, Sean Booth.
The former couple were accused of passing on police information on the search for then-fugitive Cregan to his mother.
Ms Smith, 25, had been accused of using the police's computer systems to get information on the manhunt.
The prosecution alleged she then passed the information onto Mr Booth, 31, and that she passed it on to Mrs Cregan.
At the time of the alleged offence, Cregan was the prime suspect in the murders of father and son David and Mark Short and a £50,000 was offered for his arrest.
All three of the accused had denied a single count of misconduct in a public office.
Ms Smith, the daughter of a police inspector for Greater Manchester Police, burst into tears when she heard she had been cleared.
She had told Manchester Crown Court that any information discussed with her boyfriend was just idle chit-chat while talking about work after her shift and she trusted him not to pass the information on to the Cregans.
She admitted sometimes looking at computer-generated items she was not supposed to see, but said the "culture" at GMP was for workers to look at details of police incidents where they lived because of their own curiosity and this was"tolerated" by supervisors.
Outside court Mrs Cregan said: "I thank the jury for coming to their decision and it should never have come to court anyway in the first place.
"I feel sorry for Kathryn and Sean, they were only here because they were linked to me and my name is Cregan."
Mark Short, Cregan's first victim, was shot dead in a pub in Droylsden on May 25 2012 and his father died in a gun and grenade attack at his home in Clayton, Manchester, 11 weeks later.
Weeks later he went on to lure unarmed police officers Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes to a house in Hattersley with a report of a bogus burglary.
He opened fire with a Glock semi-automatic gun when they arrived before tossing a grenade at the dying officers.
Cregan was jailed for life without parole last year for four murders.
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