Six men have today been convicted for their roles in the murders of two police officers and a father and son in Greater Manchester.
Dale Cregan pleaded guilty to the murders of PC Fiona Bone and PC Nicola Hughes, after he lured them to an address in Hattersley on 18 September 2012 with a fictitious report of a burglary, where he then launched a gun and grenade attack.
Cregan pleaded guilty at a later date to the murder of Mark Short and the attempted murders of three others on 25 May 2012, after Mark was shot in a pub in Droylsden.
Cregan also pleaded guilty to the murder of Mark’s father, David Short, who was killed at his home in Clayton on 10 August 2012.
Mark Short and three others were seriously injured in a shooting at the Cotton Tree pub 12 days afterwards. Ten weeks later, Mark’s father, David Short, was killed during a gun and grenade attack at his home in Clayton, Manchester.
GMP’s biggest ever manhunt was launched to trace those responsible for David’s murder.
Armed officers patrolled the Droylsden and Clayton areas 24 hours a day and several hundred officers and staff were involved in the operation. More than 100 addresses were searched, with more than 40 firearms warrants carried out as officers searched across Greater Manchester, the UK and beyond. A £50,000 reward was also offered for information leading to the arrest of the two named individuals – Cregan and Wilkinson – believed to be responsible.
On 18 September 2012, PCs Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes responded to what they believed was a routine burglary call in Hattersley, but it was in fact a trap set by Cregan. He shot the two officers repeatedly before throwing a grenade at them and then drove off at speed to a nearby police station where he handed himself in.
Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy said: “All four of these murders were planned assassinations, meticulously calculated by their perpetrators, who went to exceptional efforts to try and avoid detection by the police.
“Our sympathies and support remain with the families and colleagues of Fiona and Nicola, and the Short family, who are unlikely to ever fully recover from the devastation of knowing their loved ones were killed in such horrific circumstances.
“After our two officers, Nicola and Fiona, were murdered in cold blood whilst on duty, I personally reflected for a long time afterwards as to whether anything more could have been done to prevent their deaths, but quickly came to realise that in a society where we police by consent, you cannot police such evil.
“The British public prize the fact that their police force is routinely unarmed and saw this attack as an attack on all of us. I cannot thank the public enough for the support they have, and still continue, to show us.
“Those responsible for the murders of Fiona, Nicola, Mark and David Short are established criminals who are a scourge on our society.
“These men, and others like them, make themselves out to be ‘Mr Bigs’, glamorising themselves as some kind of folk heroes who rule through violence, intimidation and reputation, but in reality they spend their miserable lives looking over their shoulders to see who is coming after them and their families. If the rest of civilisation contributed the same as these individuals, we would all still be living in caves.
“Today shows that no matter how untouchable and feared these criminals may think they are, they are simply not – right now, six of the 10 defendants from this trial have been convicted.
“We are asking people to make a stand with police to help us bring down this particular breed of offenders, as part of our ongoing work to tackle organised crime gangs in communities across Greater Manchester.
“We have dedicated teams in place involving police and many other government agencies to target every facet of these criminals’ lives, to strip away their empires and illegitimate business interests piece by piece, member by member, to try and make it impossible for them to operate. We are also carrying out intervention work to discourage youngsters from slipping into this lifestyle and support those communities that stand up against these individuals.
“I hope people will soon begin to see the impact the departure of these noxious characters has on the areas they live and operate in, and that this will encourage more people to come forward with information to help us put them where they belong – in prison.”
10 defendants were tried together, in a high-security trial at Preston Crown Court. Today, 13 June 2013, the following people were convicted.
Dale Cregan (born 06/06/83) of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to the murders of Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes at an earlier hearing. He later pleaded guilty to the murders of Mark Short and David Short, three counts of attempted murder and causing an explosion.
Anthony Wilkinson (21/05/1979) from the Beswick area, pleaded guilty to one count of murder (David Short) and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life.
Jermaine Anton Ward (04/07/88) has been found guilty of one count of murder (David Short).
Mohammed Imran Ali (04/09/1980) from the Chadderton area, has been found guilty of assisting an offender in connection with the death of David Short.
Luke Livesey (born 19/02/1985) from the Hattersley area, has been found guilty of one count of murder (Mark Short) and three counts of attempted murder.
Damien Gorman (born 22/07/1974) from the Glossop area has been found guilty of one count of murder (Mark Short) and three counts of attempted murder.
More information is available on Greater Manchester Police’s website.