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‘Make sure they remember me’: David Short murder defendant’s teary plea to mother of sons, court hears

By Dominic Claeys-Jackson and Rob Lowson

‘Edgy’ co-accused Anthony Wilkinson held teary exchanges with the mother of his two sons the day before David Short’s murder, Preston Crown Court heard yesterday.

Wilkinson, 38, from Stalybridge, unexpectedly let himself into the home of ex-girlfriend Lucy Latham at 2pm on August 9 before telephoning her at 8.57pm.

In his home visit, an ‘edgy’ Wilkinson allegedly urged Ms Latham to ‘make sure the kids remember me’, adding ‘it will be on the news tomorrow’.

Later, by phone, Ms Latham claimed he told her he ‘had tears in his eyes’ and asked to speak to one of his sons, claiming he would ‘always love them’.

Wilkinson, Ms Latham said, also urged her to never ‘think I’m not thinking of the kids in all this’, adding ‘what’s got to be done has got to be done’.

Ms Latham’s account was relayed by Detective Sergeant Matthew Findell, of Greater Manchester Police, who revealed to jurors what she had told him under questioning on August 14.

Mr Short was killed in a gun and grenade attack on his home in Folkestone Road East, Clayton, on August 10 last year.

Wilkinson allegedly met Mr Short in prison, before becoming involved in a dispute upon their release.

DS Findell told the court that Ms Latham had spoken to Wilkinson’s stepmother, Marion Wilkinson, via Blackberry Messenger immediately after the shooting.

Ms Wilkinson messaged Ms Latham informing her of Mr Short’s murder, to which she replied: “So, he’s done it, then?”

DS Findell said Ms Latham had believed Wilkinson was involved following the previous day’s conversations, claiming she ‘read it to say he was going to do something’.

Ms Latham, when questioned four days after the killing, said she had since missed two telephone calls seemingly from Wilkinson, and did not know where he was.

Dale Cregan, 29, Jermaine Ward, 24, and Francis Dixon, 37, from Stalybridge, are also charged with his murder, with all four defendants pleading not guilty.

The co-accused are also charged with the attempted murder of Sharon Hark on the same day, and a single charge of causing an explosion.

Wilkinson additionally denies the charge of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life.

Mohammed Ali, 32, from Chadderton, is accused of assisting an offender after allegedly helping three of the killers escape to Bradford.

Mr Short’s death came just months after that of his son Mark, who was killed in a gun attack at the Cotton Tree pub, Droylsden, on May 25.

Cregan, Leon Atkinson, 35, from Ashton-under-Lyne, Luke Livesey, 27, from Hattersley, Ryan Hadfield, 28, from Droylsden, Damian Gorman, 38, from Glossop and Matthew James, 33, from Clayton, are charged with Mark Short’s murder.

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

Cregan has already pleaded guilty to the murders of PCs Bone, 32 and Hughes, 23, on September 18.

Prosecutors claim Cregan was already on the run from police in connection with the murders when he lured the policewomen to their deaths.

The trial continues and is scheduled to resume at 11.30am today.

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