Three-month Dale Cregan trial over murders of father and son and Manchester police officers set to begin

By Dean Wilkins

One of the UK’s biggest court cases in history will begin next week as Dale Cregan stands trial accused of murdering a father and son and two Manchester police officers.

Cregan, 29, will take to the docks charged with the murders of Mark Short, 23, David Short, 46, Nicola Hughes, 23, and Fiona Bone, 32, in a trial that is expected to last 12 weeks.

The defendant previously pleaded not guilty to all four murder charges, as well as four charges of attempted murder, at Liverpool Crown Court on November 5 – his fate will be decided by a jury at Preston Crown Court in the most high-profile case since the turn of the century.

Mark was shot dead at the Cotton Tree Inn pub, Droylsden, on May 25 – three other men were also injured in the attack – and his father David was found dead at his home on August 10.

PCs Hughes and Bone were responding to a report of an attempted burglary at a home in Hattersley, Tameside, when they were shot dead on September 18.

VICTIMS: David and Mark Short, PC Nicola Hughes and PC Fiona Bone (from top left)

Nine other men have also been charged in connection with the four murders and the trial will begin at Preston Crown Court on Monday – Mr Justice Holroyd will preside over proceedings.

All defendants have pleaded not guilty and will appear by videolink at court.

Luke Livesey, 27, from Hattersley, Damian Gorman, 37, from Glossop, Ryan Hadfield, 28, from Droylsden, Leon Atkinson, 35, from Ashton-under-Lyne, and Matthew James, 33, from Clayton, are charged with murdering Mark Short and three counts of attempted murder.

Francis Dixon, 37, from Stalybridge, is charged with murdering David Short, attempted murder and one count of causing an explosion with a hand grenade.

Anthony Wilkinson, 33, from Beswick, is charged with murdering David Short, possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life, attempted murder and causing an explosion with a hand grenade.

Jermaine Anton Ward, 24, is charged with murdering David Short, one count of attempted murder and an allegation of causing an explosion with a hand grenade.

Mohammed Ali, 23, from Chadderton, is charged with assisting an offender.

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