A policewoman who leaked confidential details about the manhunt for Dale Cregan so she could give her sister some ‘gossip’ about the double cop killer wept as she was jailed for almost three years today.
PC Katie Murray, 29, used her force database ‘as if she were accessing Google’ to obtain sensitive police information on Cregan while he still on the run.
She then used text messaging and the WhatsApp messaging service to pass it on so the two women could exchange views on him.
After unarmed WPCs Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes were shot dead by Cregan in an ambush, Murray sent sister Lindsey, 33, a picture and the name of one of the dead officers three hours before she was formally identified at a live TV news conference.
In a WhatsApp message between the pair, Lindsey – who was said to be a ‘habitual gossiper and liked to be the leader of gossip’ – said: “Oh my God, I can’t believe this shit, you better come here after work and fill me in.” Katie replied: “I don’t really know anything. He he.”
The officer, who has been with Greater Manchester Police since 2004, later filmed Cregan arriving at Newton Heath police station for interview and could be heard repeating ‘Oh my God, oh my God’, as the mass killer was being transferred from Hyde police station having just handed himself in.
Hospital worker Lindsey was said to have disseminated sensitive material given to her by Katie to friends.
Eight days after Cregan carried out the second of his four murders, Lindsey allegedly told a friend: ”Talking to Kate last night, I know the full story about Cregan x”
She was said to have provided details of the case and future police tactics concluding: “Keep it to yourself though. They are all targets our Kate said.”
GOSSIPING DUO: Katie Murray and Linsey Murray
At Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester, Katie and Lindsey, both of Droylsden, were both convicted misconduct in a public office after a trial. Katie was jailed for two years nine months and Lindsay was jailed for six months.
Passing sentence Judge Jonathan Foster QC told the women: “Katie and Lindsay Murray, until this event you had both done well with your lives, both had responsible jobs and many people spoke well of you.
“But as sisters you have one thing in common. You both failed to recognise or respect the boundaries between right and wrong.
“Katie Murray you have fallen from grace and you have compromised the confidence of the public in the integrity of the police force. You have affected the reputation of the vast majority of serving police offices and made it less likely members of the public with cooperate with them.
“You knew your sister was a habitual gossiper and was likely to pass on information to others outside confidence. You used the police computer as if you were accessing Google.”
Leaks by Katie included details of the investigations into the murders by Cregan of Mark Short, 28, who was shot dead at The Cotton Tree Pub in Ashton-under-Lyne on May 25 2012 and father David Short, 46, who was killed in a gun and grenade attack at his home on August 10 2012.
When Cregan and another suspect were initially arrested and questioned and bailed on their return from Thaliand on June 12 2012, Katie reviewed the arrests and looked at their custody records.
In mitigation Murray’s defence counsel Rick Holland said: ”Despite the fact she was a police officer for ten years, nothing can prepare her for the rigours of the custodial regime that awaits her. She was profoundly upset when those two officers died as were all the officers. She didn’t take the images from the internal computers, the information was obtained and she shared their details from Facebook.
“There was a language used that was contemptuous of Cregan and others. She described the day she was arrested as the worst in her life. She is utterly ruined now.”
James Harrison, representing Lindsay Murray, said: “She was receiving information from police computers out of curiosity. It was a sustained course of misguided curiosity. She says she was like a member of neighbourhood watch.”
Story via Cavendish Press.