Manchester deaths of two unarmed officers condemned as 'cold-blooded murder'
on 18/09/2012 17:39:55
Greater Manchester Chief Constable Peter Fahy said the young officers had been sent to investigate what appeared to be a routine burglary report when Dale Cregan, 29, attacked them with a gun and a grenade.
He said: "It would appear Cregan has deliberately done this in an act of cold-blooded murder." He said Cregan's motive for the attack was "impossible to fathom".
After the murders, the fugitive, already wanted in connection with separate gun and grenade attacks that killed father and son David and Mark Short, gave himself up at nearby Hyde police station in Greater Manchester.
Fahy named the officers as Fiona Bone, 32, and Nicola Hughes, 23.
He paid tribute to Miss Hughes, describing her as a "chatterbox" and a "great bobby" who was "always smiling".
He said Miss Bone was a "calm, gentle woman", an "excellent bobby" and had been in the middle of planning her wedding.
Speaking at a sombre press conference at GMP headquarters, he said: "Clearly we are devastated today by the loss of two of our officers.
"This is one of the darkest days in the history of the Greater Manchester Police if not for the police service overall, because we have lost two deeply loved and valued colleagues, because they are part of our team. Policing is very much a family.
"But also because of the huge efforts that officers had been making to arrest and detain Dale Cregan. Obviously the officers involved in that inquiry are shattered by this outcome."
He said it was routine to send unarmed officers to a burglary call.
"We believe that Dale Cregan was in a house in Abbey Gardens overnight, and at some point this morning has either himself made a call or had somebody else make a call reporting a burglary," he said.
"This particular address was not known to us. So as would be routine, two unarmed officers were sent to the scene.
"When they arrived, it appears that Cregan emerged into the road and killed these two officers. A firearm was used, a grenade was also used."
Asked if the grenade was thrown directly at the two police officers, Fahy said: "Certainly we believe the grenade was thrown at the officers but we have not been able to be specific about the injuries the officers suffered or how they died."
The Chief Constable said he believed Cregan had been "protected by a criminal conspiracy to harbour him", adding that the force was "fully determined" to investigate that conspiracy and bring those involved "to book".
Two people from the house in Hattersley, a man and a woman, were helping police with inquiries today.
Peter Fahy said his force believed "passionately" that police should remain unarmed, despite the tragedy.
He said: "We are passionate that the British style of policing is routinely unarmed policing. Sadly we know from the experience in America and other countries, that having armed officers certainly does not mean, sadly, that police officers do not end up getting shot."
Reward was offered
Cregan, who only has one eye, had been the subject of a huge manhunt after the murders of David Short, 46, and his son Mark, 23. A £50,000 reward had been offered for information leading to his arrest.
David Short was killed at his home in Folkestone Road East, Clayton, Manchester, on August 10, while Mark was gunned down at the Cotton Tree pub in nearby Droylsden, on May 25.
Four men have already been charged in connection with Mark Short's murder and are due to enter pleas at Manchester Crown Court in November.
Earlier this month a 33-year-old man also appeared at Manchester Crown Court charged with the gun and grenade murder of David Short.