'Murder plot switched to police'

News Shopper: Dale Cregan is accused of murdering Pcs Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes, as well as father and son David and Mark Short Dale Cregan is accused of murdering Pcs Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes, as well as father and son David and Mark Short

A one-eyed man switched his sights from an "old rival" to the police when he executed a "detailed plan" to lure officers to their deaths in a gun and grenade attack, a court has heard.

Dale Cregan, 29, is accused of murdering Pcs Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes after also killing his rivals, father and son David and Mark Short. Preston Crown Court has heard that Cregan went on the run after organising the killings following a "simmering feud" between two rival Manchester families.

Nicholas Clarke QC, opening the case for the prosecution, said: "By the 17th of September Dale Cregan was again carefully laying a detailed plan to murder. His target this time however was not an old rival, or anybody that he had a particular grievance with, but the police.

"On the 18th of September the lengthy manhunt which had been ongoing since the unsuccessful attempt to arrest Dale Cregan on the 7th of August reached its bloody conclusion and resulted in the deaths of those two young police officers."

The court was told that Cregan had gone to a house in Abbey Gardens in Mottram, Hyde.

Cregan spent the night at the house and had with him the gun he used to murder David Short and a hand grenade, the jury was told. The jurors were told that, at 10.14am on September 18, Cregan made a 999 call purporting to be "Adam Gartree" and reported that somebody had thrown a "big concrete slab" through his back window.

Pcs Bone and Hughes arrived at 30 Abbey Gardens at 10.52am. Mr Clarke added: "As Nicola and Fiona walked through the small front garden, he opened the front door and immediately fired his Glock."

He added: "Cregan had discharged a total of 32 bullets at the two unarmed police officers. He then fled the scene before colleagues of the fatally injured officers could arrive." Cregan drove to Hyde Police Station, telephoning his girlfriend Georgia Merriman on the way. He walked up to the counter clerk and said: "I'm wanted by the police and I've just done two coppers."

The trial continues.

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