One-eyed cop killer Dale Cregan changes plea to ‘guilty’ over murders of father and son David and Mark Short

By Glen Keogh

Cop killer Dale Cregan has pleaded guilty to the murders of David and his son Mark Short.

After dramatically changing his plea to killing PCs Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes in the second week of his trial, he has now admitted the two further murders.

On Monday, Cregan’s not guilty pleas to the murders of the Shorts were branded ‘bizarre’ by prosecutor Nicholas Clarke QC.

He said it was ‘the worst kept secret in Strangeways’ that Cregan, 29, had killed the Manchester father and son, and he had even admitted the murders to his mother.

Today, Cregan also admitted causing an explosion with a hand grenade in Droylsden but denies attempting to murder the householder.

Mark Short, 23, was shot in a pub in the Cotton Tree pub in Droylsden on May 25 2012.

His father David, 46, was killed in a gun and grenade attack in Clayton last August.

PCs Bone and Hughes were killed in a similar gun and grenade attack in Hattersley on September 18 – with the use of a grenade referred to as Cregan’s ‘calling card’.

Cregan also pleaded guilty to the attempted murders of John Collins, Ryan Pridding and Michael Belcher, who were all in the Cotton Tree at the time on the evening of May 25 last year.

MURDERED: Father and son David (left) and Mark Short

In his closing speech on Monday, Mr Clarke 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.

In April, Anthony Wilkinson, 38, co-accused of the murder of David Short, also changed his plea to guilty.

Cregan remains on trial for the attempted murder of Sharon Hark – the final allegation remaining against him.

The trial

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 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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