Cregan in dock for murders trial

This Is Local London: An armed police officer stands outside Preston Crown court as the trial of Dale Cregan begins An armed police officer stands outside Preston Crown court as the trial of Dale Cregan begins

One-eyed Dale Cregan stood in the dock for the first time at his trial for the murder of two police officers.

The burly 29-year-old, dressed in a white T-shirt, wore a black onyx in his left eye socket and smiled and chatted to other defendants after being brought in to Court 1 at Preston Crown Court.

Outside, the court complex was swamped with police, many of them armed with machine guns, part of a detail of around 150 officers on security duty for the trial.

The hearing began just before 11am, with Cregan replying "Yes" when brought into court and asked to confirm his identity to the court clerk.

He remained seated at the front right hand side of the dock during proceedings. A prison officer sat between each of the nine other defendants, with more prison officers also sat at the sides of the enclosed dock.

Cregan is accused of the murders of David Short, 46, and his son, Mark, 23, in the months before allegedly killing Pcs Nicola Hughes, 23, and Fiona Bone, 32, in a gun and grenade attack on September 18 last year.

Cregan's co-accused are variously charged with helping or taking part in one of the four murders, firearms offences or assisting an offender.

In front of the dock, around 20 barristers, representing the defendants, sat in rows as preliminary legal with most of the proceedings taken up by selecting the 12 jurors who will hear the trial.

Cregan, Leon Atkinson, 35, from Ashton-under-Lyne, Luke Livesey, 27, from Hattersley, Damian Gorman, 38, from Glossop, Ryan Hadfield, 28, from Droylsden, and Matthew James, 33, from Clayton, are all accused of the murder of Mark Short and the attempted murders of three others in the pub at the time - John Collins, Ryan Pridding and Michael Belcher.

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. Wilkinson is additionally charged with possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life and Mohammed Ali, 32, from Chadderton, Greater Manchester, is accused of assisting an offender.

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