David Short’s heart was ‘still beating’ after 10 gunshots when grenade blast hit, Dale Cregan murder trial hears

By Chris Higgins

Shot ten times, three times in the head, and lying bloody on the floor, David Short’s heart was ‘still beating’ when a grenade exploded on him, a court heard today.

The trial of Dale Cregan continued today as members of the jury heard the grisly details of David Short’s autopsy and ballistic evidence from the murder at his Clayton home.

Among evidence given at Preston Crown Court was the autopsy, carried out by Dr Philip Lumb, detailing the extent of injuries sustained by Mr Short in the course of the gun and grenade attack on August 10.

Dr Lumb suggested that the development of bruising around the damage caused by the grenade indicated Mr Short’s heart was ‘still beating’ at the time of the blast.

In his report, he listed 10 gunshot wounds, of which five bullets were recovered from the body, as well as massive tissue damage as a result of the grenade explosion.

“Several organs had been almost destroyed and there was extensive disruption of all tissues on the left side of the body,” Dr Lumb told the court.

“Though the grenade blast was not fatal, it very likely accelerated his death.”

Blood splatter analysis and ballistic evidence provided by the prosecution suggested Mr Short had been in his driveway, unloading furniture from his car when the assault began.

A trail of blood and bullet casings supported the claim that, while wounded, Mr Short was pursued under fire through his home, into his back garden and down the side walkway where he was ultimately killed.

Of the ten gunshot wounds Mr Short sustained, Dr Lumb concluded that only four would have been fatal or incapacitating, claiming that due to the lack of blood inside the house he received the majority of his injuries in the walkway.

Ten spent bullet casings and three misfired rounds found inside and outside of the house indicated the use of both 9mm and .45 calibre weapons, with firing pin and rifling marks consistent with those seen on a Glock-type pistol.

This make of weapon is similar to the handgun Cregan is alleged to have been seen carrying on CCTV footage shown earlier this week.

The assortment of casings found at the crime scene were said to be from a range of international companies, including Israeli, Brazilian and Czech arms manufacturers.

This was said to be unusual by the ballistics expert on the stand, and that similar ammunition brands had been found at two other shootings Cregan is alleged to have been involved in.

Microscopic side-by-side comparisons of casings from David Short’s murder and the murders of PCs Nicola Hughes and Fiona Bone later on September 18 led the expert to conclude that the same weapon had been used in both murders.

Shell casings made by MMS, the same Czech manufacturer as those recovered from David Short’s home, were also found at Luke Road after the attempted murder of Sharon Hark.

Dale Cregan, of no fixed address, Francis Dixon, 37, from Stalybridge, Anthony Wilkinson, 38, from Manchester, and Jermaine Ward, 24 are charged with David Short’s murder and the attempted murder of Sharon Hark on the same day.

Cregan has already pleaded guilty to the murders of PCs Fiona Bone, 32 and Nicola Hughes, 23, at a house in Mottram on September 18.

He is also charged with the murder of Mark Short, David’s son, along with Luke Livesey, 27, from Hattersley, Ryan Hadfield, 28, from Droylsden, Damian Gorman, 38, from Glossop, Matthew James, 33, from Clayton, and Leon Atkinson, 35, from Ashton-under-Lyne.

All six co-accused are pleading not guilty to that charge, as well as the attempted murder of Mr Collins, Mr Pridding and Mr Belcher.

The trial continues.

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