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LIVE UPDATES: Dale Cregan murder trial day 30… as it happens

By Pippa Field & Chris Bailey

Welcome to day 30 of the Dale Cregan murder trial from Preston Crown Court. MM will be posting live updates throughout the day.

NOTE: This story is being live edited and is being constantly updated. Hit refresh to display live updates.

13.00pm: After Mr Gledhill steps down, the defence tell the judge that Cregan does not wish to give any evidence. The judge reminds the defence that the jury can make inferences based on his non-committal. He goes on to say the trial will stop now for a week-long Easter break – starting again on April 8 – and emphasises to the jury that it is too early to start thinking about verdicts based on the partial evidence heard thus far.

12.52pm: The defence ask Mr Gledhill further details of the day, in which he states
that he had never gone on a run with Atkinson before and that they were the
only two in the boxing room where the punchbags were.

12.44pm: The court hears that Atkinson exchanged calls three times with Mr Gledhill between 10am and 10.23am on May 25. Mr Gledhill cannot recall the specific details, but speculates that it was to do with training at the gym.

Mr Gledhill arrived at 12pm and Atkinson was already there, but he did not see Cregan. He states they went through a routine including jogging – running a couple of miles around the block – and using a punchbag. Mr Gledhill claims they finished at 3pm, with Atkinson showering and leaving shortly after. 

12.40pm: Scot Gledhill, 26, who owns a gym three miles away from Droylsden, is the
court’s next witness. He confirms that both Leon Atkinson and Dale Cregan
have trained at his gym. He is asked by the prosecution whether he can
recollect May 25. He says he can remember he was ‘shocked’ by the Droylsden
shootings.

12.30pm: The prosecution starts their questioning by noting that Mr Ellis is a childhood friend of Mr Crompton – which he confirms.

In phone call records, it is alleged that Mr Ellis and Mr Crompton had three exchanges between 10.11pm and 10.22pm after leaving The Organ pub. The prosecution go on to say that the pair also phoned each other the morning of May 26 – the night after Cregan is alleged to have shot Mark Short. Mr Crompton says he cannot recall any conversations with Mr Ellis.

12.24pm: Matthew Crompton, 41, takes to the witness box – the joint-owner of The
Organ pub. The defence asks him to recollect May 25.

He claims to have met his friend, Mr Ellis, in The Organ at approximately 6.30pm. Mr Crompton adds they stayed there for a couple of hours and that he saw Cregan in the
beer-garden.

11.40am: The court adjourns for an extended mid-morning break – we’ll be back in 25 minutes.

11.38am: The prosecution goes on to allege that in further call data records, Mr Ellis was trying to ring Cregan’s phone on May 26 and May 27. Now the defence takes to the stand, and the court hears that Mr Ellis does not remember making contact with Cregan on those dates.

Mr Ellis goes on to say though he was a regular at The Organ pub, he would remember May 25 specifically because it was Cregan’s first visit.

11.30am: The court also hears that the pair spoke on May 24 – the day before Mr Ellis claims to have bumped into Cregan at The Organ pub. Mr Ellis claims he can’t remember the phone calls.

11.25am: The prosecution moves on to ask Mr Ellis why he did not ring Atkinson himself. It is revealed that Mr Ellis, in a police statement on November 7, said he did not have Atkinson’s number because he ‘changes his phone a lot’.

But the prosecution alleges that Atkinson last changed his number on May 8, and they were exchanging phone calls as early as May 11.

11.20am: The jury hears Cregan was in ‘flip-flops and shorts’ at The Organ pub and was having ‘banter’ in a phone call with Atkinson, who told Cregan he was in a caravan in North Wales.

11.10am: The prosecution now starts to question Mr Ellis.  They ask him about the whereabouts of Dale Cregan the night after he was named a suspect in the Droylsden shootings.

The court hears that Mr Ellis – who spoke to Mr Cregan at approximately 10pm at The Organ pub on May 25 – did not think to make the police aware he had seen him, even though he read in the days afterwards the defendant was the subject of a police manhunt.

10.59am: Stephen Ellis claims ‘he knew of’ a Dale Cregan and saw him at approximately 7:30pm when Cregan arrived at The Organ pub. He states that he asked Cregan if he had seen Atkinson and whether he was coming out for a drink.

Cregan then phoned Atkinson who said he was at a caravan, Mr Ellis alleges. Mr Ellis goes on to say Cregan did not give any indication of his plans for later in the evening and seemed in a good mood, ‘laughing and joking’.

10.40am: Leon Atkinson’s defence starts their questioning of Stephen Ellis, 34, of Newton Heath, who is currently giving evidence.

 

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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