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Dale Cregan

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Tensions soon escalated and police warned Cregan that there had been threats to his life and to his girlfriend and four-year-old son. He decided to lie low in Thailand for a while (the country where he claims to have lost his left eye in a fight some years earlier). Returning on 12 June, he was arrested as he got off the plane at Manchester. Police had to release him on bail while they continued gathering evidence. At the start of August police tried to re-arrest Cregan, but were unable to locate him as he was holidaying in the Lake District. On 10 August, having returned to Manchester, Cregan and two accomplices ambushed 46-year-old David Short at his home in Clayton, shooting him nine times with a Glock pistol and then throwing a grenade onto his body. The assassination was viewed by Cregan as a pre-emptive strike because Short had threatened his family. The use of hand grenades, which had not been seen before in the mainland United Kingdom, was especially worrying for police. Chillingly, Cregan would later tell a prison psychiatrist that “The night I shot David Short I had the best sleep of my life.”. CCTV of both these shocking attacks was circulated, and a nationwide manhunt ensued. Cregan’s face peered down from huge billboards offering a £50,000 reward for information leading to his arrest. 50 raids were carried out across the country, but to no avail. When the fugitive resurfaced after 42 days on the run, the consequences were devastating.  A DOUBLE MURDER The anonymous 999 phone call on 18 September 2012 sounded completely innocuous. The caller, a young man, states: “Someone’s just thrown a big concrete slab through my back window and run off.” Police dispatchers alerted PC Nicola Hughes, 23, and PC Fiona Bone, 32, to an address in Abbey Gardens in Mottram, Greater Manchester to investigate. Shortly before 11am, witnesses heard 13 gunshots and an explosion at the address. Cregan had lured the two young police officers there with the sole intention of killing them. No words were exchanged as he shot the two women using a 9mm Glock, before once again detonating a hand grenade. It was to emerge later that Cregan had taken a family hostage overnight in the house at Abbey Gardens and audaciously allowed the father to leave for work the next day. (But not before threatening to kill his family if he alerted the police).