Abbey Solicitors instruct defendant in 4 murder trial

11th Mar 2014

A man accused of the murder of two police officers in Greater Manchester has appeared in court after a trial lasting four months.

Dale Cregan, 29, was at Preston Crown Court having denied the murders of PCs Nicola Hughes, 23, and Fiona Bone, 32, in a gun and grenade attack in Mottram.

He also denied murdering his father and son David and Mark Short.

There were nine co-accused, whose charges included murder and attempted murder.

Around 20 barristers represented the defendants.  They sat in two rows as preliminary legal issues were discussed ahead of a jury being selected for the trial.

PCs Hughes and Bone were killed as they responded to a report of a burglary on the morning of 18 September 2012.

Four months earlier, former amateur boxer Mark Short was gunned down at the Cotton Tree pub in Droylsden, Greater Manchester.

His 46-year-old father David was then found dead on 10 August following a shooting and grenade attack at a house in nearby Clayton.

Mr Cregan, Leon Atkinson, 35, Luke Livesey, 27, Damian Gorman, 38, Ryan Hadfied, 28, and Matthew James, 33, were all accused of the murder of Mark Short and the attempted murders of three others in the pub at the time.

Accused of the murder of David Short were Mr Cregan, Francis Dixon, 37, Anthony Wilkinson, 28, and Jermaine Ward, 24.

All four were also jointly accused of the attempted murder of Sharon Hark on the same day, and a single charge of causing an explosion.

Mr Wilkinson was also charged with possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life, and Mohammed Ali, 32, was accused of assisting an offender.

Only Mr Cregan was charged with the murder of the two police officers.

Abbey Solicitors were instructed for the only defendant of the nine co-defendants who discharged a firearm.  The trial was a public spectacle from beginning to end, with much media scrutiny.  Numerous novel legal arguments were used, involving hearsay and bad character.