Dale Cregan murder trial: Accomplice’s friend was ‘threatened into silence’ within hours of Manchester slaying

By Dominic Claeys-Jackson & Robbie Gill

A woman was threatened into silence following the gunning down of Mark Short in a Greater Manchester pub shooting, Preston Crown Court has heard.

Damien Gorman threatened a friend into silence within hours of the killing, which he allegedly carried out along with former-fugitive Dale Cregan, the court were told.

Gorman, 38, from Glossop – charged alongside five others – allegedly warned the friend against approaching police, shortly after the shooting at the Cotton Tree pub, Droylsden, on May 25 2012.

A witness, who cannot be named, claimed he was told that someone by the name of ‘Damo’, alleged by prosecutors to refer to Gorman, had made the threat.

Gorman is charged with the murder of Short, 23, alongside Dale Cregan, 29, of no fixed abode; Luke Livesey, 27, from Hattersley; Ryan Hadfield, 28, from Droylsden; Matthew James, 33, from Clayton; and Leon Atkinson, 35, from Ashton-under-Lyne.

Prosecutors also claimed the alleged getaway vehicle, a Ford Focus, was stolen on May 1 from the owner’s home.

The car – apparently stolen overnight after keys were snatched through the letterbox – had been parked at the owner’s residence overnight.

Prosecutors alleged that Gorman, Cregan and Livesey travelled to and from the Cotton Tree in the Focus, alongside the gunman who murdered Short.

Just after the fatal shooting, the stolen car was found ‘totally engulfed in fire’ near Ellison Close, Hollingworth, firefighter Kevin Eckersley claimed in a written statement.

Eckersley, whose crew arrived at ten past midnight on May 26, claimed the cause of the fire was likely to be deliberate ignition.

The location of the burning vehicle, the court was told, was in close proximity to Gorman’s former address at Moorfield Terrace.

Letting agent Eric Rostron confirmed Gorman had lived at a Moorfield Terrace address with his girlfriend Sarah Clark between May 2011 and March 2012.

Rostron, giving evidence, claimed he agreed to let the property to new tenants shortly after being vacated by Gorman.

While checking the condition of the house days after the shooting, Rostron found a broken rear window and a TV aerial lying in the yard, the court heard.

The court also heard that a man calling himself Luke ordered a Radio Cabs taxi for The Organ pub, Stalybridge, just before the killing.

Prosecutors claim that the man was Livesey, with the taxi driver – who cannot be named – telling court the man did not immediately show up on arrival.

The fare, the driver claimed, was originally called for Droylsden, but the ‘two or three’ customers in the taxi asked to go to the New Inn pub, Hollingworth, first.

The case continues, with the trial set to resume at 10:30am today.


The trial

Dale Cregan, 29, of no fixed abode, is being tried on two counts of murder. One is of the murder of Mark Short, 23, at The Cotton Tree Pub on May 26 last year. The second is his father David Short, 46, at his Folkestone Road East home on August 10. 

He also faces four counts of attempted murder and causing an explosion by using a hand-grenade.

Leon Atkinson, 35, from Ashton-under-Lyne, Damian Gorman, 37, from Glossop,
Ryan Hadfield, 28, from Droylsden, Matthew James, 33, from Clayton, Luke Livesey, 27, from Hattersley,  are also charged with murdering Mark Short, and three counts of attempted murder of John Collins, Ryan Pridding and Michael Belcher, who were also in The Cotton Tree at the time. All deny the charges.

Francis Dixon, 37, from Stalybridge, Jermaine Ward, 24, and Anthony Wilkinson, 33, from Beswick, are also charged of murdering David Short. They are also charged with Cregan with one count of attempted murder of Sharon Hark in Droylsden later on the same day. All deny the charges

They are also accused of causing an explosion with a hand-grenade. All deny the charge. 

Mohammed Ali, 23, is charged with assisting an offender. He denies the charge. 

Cregan has already pleaded guilty to the murder of police officers PC Nicola Hughes, 23, from Saddleworth, and PC Fiona Bone, 32, from Sale, in Hattersley on September 18 last year.

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