Feb 7 2013
A man accused of killing two policewomen fired his gun until it was empty of bullets before throwing a fragmentation hand grenade at them, a court has heard.
One-eyed Dale Cregan, 29, had lured Pcs Nicola Hughes, 23, and Fiona Bone, 32, into the trap with a bogus burglary call before opening fire on the unarmed women, Preston Crown Court heard.
The killings came following a revenge attack over a simmering family feud in east Manchester that had exploded into violence in the lead-up to the attack on the officers, jurors heard.
Cregan is alleged to have murdered David Short, 46, the head of the Short family, and his son, Mark, 23, who had rowed with another local family, the Atkinsons, in the months before murdering the policewomen, the court was told.
Nicholas Clarke QC, opening the case for the prosecution, told the jury Mark Short was shot at the Cotton Tree pub in Droylsden, Manchester, on May 25 last year. He said: "At the time that his son Mark was shot, David Short, the head of the Short family, was using the toilet. Otherwise he himself would have been a target. His son died in his arms."
After Mr Short was buried at Droylsden cemetery, his father went on a daily basis to his grave to grieve, the jury was told. But on the morning of August 10 he was at home when his killers came calling.
"He was chased through the house and shot many times," Mr Clarke continued. "He tried to run around the side of the house to escape. His injuries were already unsurvivable and then a grenade was thrown on to him. Its explosion had devastating consequences for his torso. It is the first time in this country that a military grenade has been deployed in this way."
Cregan and five other defendants deny the murder of Mark Short and the attempted murder of three others in the pub at the time.
Accused of the murder of David Short are Cregan, Francis Dixon, 37, from Stalybridge, Anthony Wilkinson, 38, from Manchester, and Jermaine Ward, 24. All four are also jointly accused of the attempted murder of Sharon Hark on the same day and a single charge of causing an explosion. They deny all the charges.
Wilkinson is additionally charged with possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life, which he denies. Mohammed Ali, 23, from Chadderton, Greater Manchester, is accused of assisting an offender. He denies the charge. Cregan alone is charged with the murder of the two police officers, which he denies. All the charges span between May 25 and September 18 last year. The trial continues.