UK

Dale Cregan's Chilling 999 Call That Lured Police Officers To Their Deaths

13/06/2013 17:35 BST | Updated 13/06/2013 17:43 BST

Cold-blooded killer Dale Cregan calmly invented a 'crime' to lure two police officers to their deaths, a chilling recording has revealed.

The fugitive described to the call operator how someone thrown a concrete slab through his window.

His last comment as he was told officers were on the way was: "I'll be waiting."

The recording was released as Cregan was told he would die in prison for his killing spree, which also included the murders of a father and son.

The 30-year-old, described by Greater Manchester Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy as a "scourge on our society", was given a whole life sentence at Preston Crown Court by Mr Justice Holroyde QC at the end of a trial which laid bare the sheer brutality of Manchester's underworld.

One-eyed Cregan was already on the run for the murders of David Short, 46, and son Mark, 23, when he killed policewomen Nicola Hughes, 23, and Fiona Bone, 32, in a horrifying gun and grenade attack.

Sentencing Cregan, Mr Justice Holroyde said he had "acted with pre-meditated savagery" in the "quite appalling" murders.

"You, Cregan, drew those two officers into a calculated trap for the sole purpose of murdering them in cold blood," he said.

Cregan was earlier cleared of a charge of attempted murder involving a grenade attack on Sharon Hark, which he denied.

But during his trial he had admitted the four murders and the attempted murders of three others, along with a count of causing an explosion with a hand grenade.

Nine other defendants faced trial alongside him on various charges linked to the deaths of the Shorts. Four of them were cleared today.

Cregan went on the run days before he killed David Short last August after he gunned down his son, Mark, in a pub in Droylsden, Greater Manchester, three months earlier.

The manhunt reached a ghastly conclusion on September 18 when he lured the constables with a bogus 999 call to a house in Abbey Gardens in Hattersley.

He opened the front door as they walked up the front garden path and shot them in the chest with a Glock handgun.

Pc Hughes was hit eight times, including three strikes to the head as she lay on the ground.

Pc Bone was hit up to eight times after she managed to draw and fire her Taser at Cregan, who fired 32 bullets in total in barely half a minute.

He then left his "calling card" of a military grenade, which he threw it on the path where the officers lay.

The killer then dropped his gun and drove a short distance to Hyde police station where he calmly walked up to the counter clerk and said: "I'm wanted by the police and I've just done two coppers."

Cregan put his arms out to be handcuffed and said he was there to hand himself in.

He then told an officer: "I dropped the gun at the scene and I've murdered two police officers. You were hounding my family so I took it out on yous."

The spiral of violence began on May 25 last year when a balaclava-clad Cregan stepped into the Cotton Tree pub in Droylsden and shot Mark Short, who died in the arms of his father.

On August 10, Cregan targeted Mr Short senior outside his home in Clayton as he unloaded furniture from his car.

He chased him through his house and shot him numerous times before throwing a grenade at him with "devastating consequences" , the first recorded time one had been used in the UK in this way.

At 1.10pm, on the 77th day of the trial and on the sixth day of deliberations, the jury came back into court with unanimous verdicts on all counts. The defendants were ordered to remain seated.

The first lot of verdicts were delivered in silence in the packed courtroom save for some stifled gasps as 'not guilty' was recorded on some counts.

Fiona Bone's sister, Vicky Bone shook her head and her father Paul Bone leaned back in his seat.

David Short's wife Michelle Kelly, sitting with members of her family, also shook her head and wiped away tears.

As Cregan was cleared of the remaining count he faced, there was a shout of "Yeah!" from the back of the dock and Cregan turned around with a smile

He smiled and shook hands with the other defendants after the verdicts. His co-accused Anthony Wilkinson looked directly at the public gallery where the victims' families were seated, with a broad smile on his face.