Dale Cregan trial: One-eyed police killer and nine other defendant verdicts – LIVE UPDATES

By David Keane & Glen Keogh

NOTE: This story is being live edited as the results come in, please refresh the page for updates.

The jury verdicts in the trial of Dale Cregan and nine other defendants were delivered at Preston Crown Court this afternoon.

13:00pm: Leon Atkinson, initially accused by the prosecution of being the ‘mastermind’ behind the murder of Mark Short, was found not guilty on all charges.

However, Luke Livesey and Damian Gorman were found guilty of the murder of Mark Short.

Ryan Hadfield and Matthew James have been found not guilty of his murder.

13:03pm: In count two, the attempted murder charge of John Collins, Atkinson, Hadfield and James were again found not guilty, with Livesy and Gorman found guilty.

13:05pm: For the third count, the attempted murder of Ryan Pridding, Atkinson, Hadfield and James were found not guilty.

Livesey and Gorman were found guilty.

13:08pm: In count four, James, Hadfield and Atkinson were found not guilty of attempted murder of Michael Belcher, with Gorman and Livesey found guilty.

13:11pm: A pause in the verdict sees the dock cleared before those facing counts six to nine are brought in, including Dale Cregan.

13:15pm: Cregan is smirking in the dock as he awaits the verdict.

13:18pm: For count six, the murder of David Short, Jermaine Ward is found guilty. Francis Dixon is found not guilty.

13:21pm: In count seven, the attempted murder of Sharon Hark, Ward, Anthony Wilkinson, Cregan and Dixon are cleared of the charge.

Cregan openly laughs and cheers at not guilty verdict.

13:23pm: The count eight verdicts of causing an explosion are returned.

Dixon, Wilkinson and Ward are all found not guilty.

Mohammed Imran Ali is found guilty of count nine – assisting an offender.

13:27pm: Court adjourned until 2.15pm.

14.22pm: Court resumes for sentencing of Dale Cregan. Nineteen security personnel surround the dock.

14:29pm: Court begins to hear previous offences of the defendents.

14:30pm: Dale Cregan had 17 other offences stretching back to 1999.

14.33pm: Luke Livesey has 13 other offences while Damian Gorman has 61. Anthony Wilkinson has 13 previous offences, including threatening a pub landlord with a sword.

14.45pm: The cost of the security for the trial at Preston Crown Court is in excess of £5million, according to Lancashire Police.

14.59pm: Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy has issued the following statement: “All four of these murders were planned assassinations, meticulously calculated by their perpetrators, who went to exceptional efforts to try and avoid detection by the police.

“Our sympathies and support remain with the families and colleagues of Fiona and Nicola, and the Short family, who are unlikely to ever fully recover from the devastation of knowing their loved ones were killed in such horrific circumstances.”

15:01pm: Families of murdered PCs Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes await sentencing along with packed courtroom.

15:03pm: Sir Peter Fahy also said in his statement: “Those responsible for the murders of Fiona, Nicola, Mark and David Short are established criminals who are a scourge on our society.

“These men, and others like them, make themselves out to be ‘Mr Bigs’, glamorising themselves as some kind of folk heroes who rule through violence, intimidation and reputation, but in reality they spend their miserable lives looking over their shoulders to see who is coming after them and their families. If the rest of civilisation contributed the same as these individuals, we would all still be living in caves.

“Today shows that no matter how untouchable and feared these criminals may think they are, they are simply not – right now, six of the 10 defendants from this trial have been convicted.

“We are asking people to make a stand with police to help us bring down this particular breed of offenders, as part of our ongoing work to tackle organised crime gangs in communities across Greater Manchester.”

15:04pm: The use of grenades on the streets of Manchester is ‘extremely serious’, according to Judge Holroyd as sentencing approaches.

15:06pm: Kent Police Federation tweet: “Cregan pleaded guilty to the murders of Nicola & Fiona. There is no doubt. He should be hanged.”

15:16pm: Sentencing will take place at 4pm final mitigations from lawyers being heard by court.

15:17pm: Jermaine Ward’s barrister claims Ward was acting under duress, because Cregan ‘wanted to kill him’.

Dale Cregan’s solicitor offers no mitigation.

15:22pm: Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd has paid an emotional tribute to murdered PCs Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes.

Lloyd said: “Fiona and Nicola’s deaths starkly demonstrate the risks that the brave men and women of Greater Manchester Police take each day to keep us safe.
“On behalf of everyone in Greater Manchester, I would like to pay tribute to their sacrifice and bravery. Fiona and Nicola represented the very best in policing and they will never be forgotten.
“I would like to thank the officers, police staff and prosecutors involved in bringing this case to fruition for their hard work. Despite this being a deeply personal case for many of them, they exhibited professionalism of the highest standard. I would also like to thank the jury for their deliberations in what was a long and difficult case.
“But ultimately our thoughts today should be with those who have lost so much. Cregan and his cohorts caused death and misery, not just to Nicola and Fiona’s family, friends and colleagues, but also to Mark and David Short’s loved ones.
“These three families have demonstrated dignity throughout this awful process. Along with all right-thinking people, I sincerely hope they can find comfort in the knowledge that justice has been done and some small degree of consolation from the sympathies expressed by people all around the world.”

15:24pm: Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd’s emotional tribute continued: “This case cast a long, dark shadow across Greater Manchester, but the fact that these men have been convicted should send out a clear message of hope that people who think they are ‘hard men’ will be hunted down and brought to book. They set a terrible example in the communities they attempt to control through fear or misguided respect. And the lie that their crimes are somehow victimless is exposed today.
“This case shows decent people across Britain that when we make a stand together, we can defeat these animals.”

15:46pm: The cost to Greater Manchester Police in the hunt for Dale Cregan, Anthony Wilkinson and others between August 10 and September 18 last year, and the additional costs incurred for the investigations into the murders of Mark Short, David Short, PC Fiona Bone and PC Nicola Hughes, are approximately £3.23million.

GMP say that more than 200 officers and staff worked on the murder investigation teams, with more than 6,000 hours of CCTV footage trawled through by officers. More than 15,000 pieces of intelligence and over 6,000 exhibits were dealt with by officers.

16:13pm: Sentencing now imminent. Dale Cregan and Anthony Wilkinson talk together and laugh while awaiting sentencing.

16.15pm: Jonathan Reynolds, Labour MP for Stalybridge and Hyde, where Cregan handed himself in after luring two police officers to their deaths, issues the following statement: “This has been an extremely difficult time for all those affected by this horrific crime, particularly the families of PCs Nicola Hughes and Fiona Bone, their colleagues in Greater Manchester Police, and the community of Mottram where this terrible tragedy took place. My thoughts are principally with the families of the victims. They will never forget their loved ones, but I hope that they can now begin to rebuild their lives.

“The cold-blooded, premeditated nature of these murders was truly shocking. Dale Cregan is an extremely dangerous man, who the public must be kept safe from.

“I would like to praise Greater Manchester Police and my local community for the way they have responded to these terrible events. My area is a place where the public and the police have a strong relationship, and I will always make sure that continues to be the case.”

16.24pm: Sentencing of Dale Cregan, who pleaded guilty to four murders, three attempted murders and causing an explosion, begins.

Judge tells him he acted with ‘pre-meditated savagery’ and pursed officers PC Bone and PC Hughes with a ‘chilling and ruthless determination to end their lives’.

16:30pm: Dale Cregan has shown no hint of ‘remorse or compassion’ while sitting in the dock throughout the trial, Judge Holroyd tells the court. Cregan remains leaning back with arms folded. He occasionally smiles.

Meanwhile, some family members are crying in the gallery as the sentencing looms.


16:37pm: Judge Holroyd tells Cregan that early release will not apply in this instance due to the severity of his crimes and that he will never be released.

16:39pm: Anthony Wilkinson is sentenced to life imprisonment, with a minimum term of 35 years

16:40pm: Luke Livesey and Damian Gorman both also receive life sentences, each with 33-year minimum terms.

16:41pm: Anthony Ward receives life sentence, again with 33-year minimum sentence.

Mohammed Imran Ali is sentenced to seven years imprisonment for assisting an offender.

16.45pm: While guilty pleas are taken into consideration, Dale Cregan’s were timed ‘to suit his needs’, the Judge tells the court.

Cregan has shown a ‘contempt’ for the courtroom throughout the trial, Holroyd claims.

16.51pm: Judge tells jurors ‘thank you’ for their time during such a long trial and tells them they are exempt from jury service for the next TEN years.

NOTE: This story is being live edited as the results come in, please refresh the page for updates.

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