Dale Cregan’s not guilty pleas ‘bizarre’ in face of evidence against cop killer, prosecution tells jury

By Glen Keogh

Police killer Dale Cregan’s not guilty plea to the murders of two Manchester men has been branded ‘bizarre’ in a closing speech to the jury.

Preston Crown Court were told that Cregan has admitted the murders ‘numerous times’ and his confession that he had killed one man in a gun and grenade attack was ‘the worst kept secret in Strangeways’.

One-eyed Cregan pleaded guilty to the murders of police constables Fiona Bone, 32, and Nicola Hughes, 23, in the second week of his trial.

He has continued to deny the murders of David Short, 46, and his son Mark, 23.

In his closing speech, Nicholas Clarke QC said Cregan, 29, still had a right to a trial and for the jury to reach the correct verdicts.

Cregan has continued to deny the murders, even though Mr Clarke reminded the jury that he told a psychiatrist and psychologist before the trial and even his mother that he had killed the men.

Mr Clarke also added that Cregan had ‘talked openly’ with some of his co-accused in Strangeways about taking the life of David Short.

Several witnesses have said that Cregan told them he killed the Shorts, however he has not given evidence to the jury himself or challenged any of the claims through his barrister.

Mr Clarke also explained how the murders of the father and son were done in a similar manner to the gun and grenade murder of PCs Bone and Hughes.

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 and Jermaine Ward, 24, 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. They 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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