News In Depth
Man charged with officers' murders
Dale Cregan has been charged with the murders of two police officers in a gun and grenade attack, police said.
The 29-year-old is also accused of killing father and son David and Mark Short in separate incidents earlier this year.
In addition, Cregan faces four charges of attempted murder.
The deaths of Pcs Nicola Hughes and Fiona Bone during a bogus burglary call in Hattersley, Greater Manchester, on Tuesday shocked the nation and has elicited an outpouring of sympathy across the country.
Nazir Afzal, chief Crown prosecutor for CPS North West, said: "The tragic events this week in which police constables Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes lost their lives in the line of duty have shocked and appalled the whole country.
"I would like to take this opportunity to express my sympathies to their families, friends and to all their colleagues in Greater Manchester Police on their very sad loss.
"I have today authorised the police to charge 29-year-old Dale Cregan with their murders and with the murders of Mark Short, who was killed at the Cotton Tree Inn in Droylsden on 25 May, and David Short, who was killed at his home in Clayton on 10 August.
"Cregan has also been charged with the attempted murders of Michael Belcher, Ryan Pridding and John Short on 25 May and Sharon Hark on 10 August.
"He will appear in custody at Manchester City Magistrates' Court tomorrow.
"The CPS and Greater Manchester Police are absolutely determined to deliver justice for those who have been killed and for their families, and we will continue working closely during the ongoing investigations into these deaths.
"May I remind all concerned that, as Dale Cregan has now been charged with criminal offences, it is very important that nothing is said, or reported, which could prejudice that trial and jeopardise the course of justice in this case. For these reasons I am not able to comment further about the case at this time."
Sir Peter Fahy, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, who was also at the press conference at the force's headquarters, said: "I'd just like to say this is a complex investigation and I would ask that anybody who has any information about the murders of our two officers or the other murders we have just been hearing about, that those people look at their conscience and come forward."
The murder of the two officers provoked nationwide shock and outrage.
Cregan was already wanted by police in relation to the murders of David and Mark Short.
Mark Short died from a gunshot wound to the neck after a gunman opened fire in the Cotton Tree Inn in Droylsden, Tameside, at around at 11.50pm on May 25.
Cregan has also been charged with the attempted murders of Mr Belcher, Mr Pridding and Mr Short, who were in the pub at the time.
The body of the victim's father, David Short, 46, was found at a house in Folkestone Road East in Clayton, Manchester, at 10.30am on August 10, after police were called there following reports of gunshots. A hand grenade was also used in that attack.
Less than 10 minutes later, there was another grenade explosion outside a house in Luke Road in Droylsden. No one was injured in that incident.
Cregan has been charged with the attempted murder of Ms Hark in relation to the incidents that day.
Sir Peter said: "This remains a complex investigation and the fact we have charged someone does not mean the investigation is complete.
"We still have someone in custody and people on bail and there is still a lot of work to be done.
"We have been touched by the many thousands of messages received from the public who are as shocked as we are and I want to thank them for their support over the last few days.
"We will continue our high-visibility presence in the Hattersley area and I would urge anyone who has any information about what happened on Tuesday morning or in the lead-up to it, they must do the right and just thing and contact us."
Earlier, the Chief Constable laid flowers at the scene where the officers were murdered.
He stood in silence alongside colleagues on the Hattersley estate, their heads bowed, a growing pile of bouquets in front of them.
Clearly moved, Sir Peter then paid further tributes to the constables, whom he described as "two wonderful human beings, two very dedicated officers".
After placing the bouquet, he said he had met the two families, who told him Pcs Bone and Hughes had both visited elderly victims of crime while off duty to make sure they were all right.
He said: "Clare, Fiona's partner, was there, obviously very upset, talking about how they had been planning for a civil partnership and how they were looking forward to life together.
"I've also been with Nicola's family today. They talked about somebody who loved karate. Although she was very small in stature, she was a real fighter."
He added: "So, two wonderful human beings, two very dedicated officers and two very, very proud families obviously devastated by their loss."
Sir Peter said the families had asked him to pass on their "huge appreciation" for the massive show of public support.
"This is a huge comfort to them at a very, very difficult time," he said.
Senior officers also thanked the public and said the police took heart from the huge outpouring of goodwill and public support.
The force has received 34,100 messages on its online book of condolence, more than 21,500 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.
It "has meant a great deal to Greater Manchester Police, to its officers, and to all of the partners and also to the communities", Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan said.
"I know the families too have been taking real solace from reading the positive stories and the positive messages of support being expressed by ordinary members of the public here in Greater Manchester and across the UK."
Police from across the country have also offered to provide cover so officers from the Greater Manchester force can attend the funerals of Pcs Bone and Hughes, he added.
what do you think?
Give the police more authority they are there for our safety. I have always been treated most politely by officers of the law but then of course i am not a crook or troublemaker. When i was a child in london and we were particularly naughty the local policeman would give us a clip round the ear. If I went home and told my mother her response would be you must have been up to something and she would clip me too! Freedom of speech has gone too far in to abusive and violent threats. I say what i mean and mean whhat i say and that is enough freedom for me.
Same applied where i live CAROL and i live in a small village,and that clip round your ear from mum/dad hurt more than the one from plod.
If this coward didnt hand himself in then he would also have been in a bodybag because the Police would not have let him out of any stand off alive!! And rightly so the scumbag!!
An eye for an eye, forgive the pun