Son 'killed in revenge shooting'

News Shopper: David Short and his son Mark, who were allegedly killed by Dale Cregan (Greater Manchester Police/PA) David Short and his son Mark, who were allegedly killed by Dale Cregan (Greater Manchester Police/PA)

A woman has told the trial of Dale Cregan how a gunman burst into a pub and shot her son.

Michelle Kelly told the jury her son Mark Short and partner of 28 years David Short were killed weeks after a drunken pub row between feuding families.

Cregan, 29, is also accused of the murders of Pc Fiona Bone, 32, and Pc Nicola Hughes, 23, the "bloody conclusion" to the string of his murderous attacks, it is alleged. Cregan, on trial with nine other men, denies all charges.

The jury at Preston Crown Court heard how trouble first began at the Cotton Tree pub in Droylsden, east of Manchester, when Theresa Atkinson, 53, the "matriarch" of her family, clashed with Raymond Young, a member of the Short family, while she was drunk, "loudmouth and swearing".

She was "backhanded" by Mr Young after she tried to bottle him then went "ballistic" warning: "I'm going to get my boys - you're all dead."

Leon Atkinson, 35, is alleged to have recruited his "right hand man" Dale Cregan, to help take revenge for the "disrespect" shown to his mother. Just before midnight on May 25, with the Short family gathered in the Cotton Tree pub, a balaclava-clad gunman burst in as Ms Kelly sat at the end of the bar.

"I heard one bang and I turned, then I seen my son, he had his back to me as the second one went off and then it was just, 'Bang, bang, bang'" Ms Kelly told the jury. "Mark tried to grab him."

Nicholas Clarke QC, prosecuting, asked the witness: "You in fact took steps to intervene yourself? You grabbed a pool cue and ran outside to try to find him?" The witness said: "Yes."

Ms Kelly said her partner believed their son's murder was over the row with Theresa Atkinson - but denied he had vowed to take revenge. "He put his hand on his heart and said he would let the police do the job and find's Mark's killers," Ms Kelly said.

But on August 10, David Short was also killed in a gun and grenade attack on his home in Clayton, east Manchester. The trial continues.

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