UK police killer admits previous murders

2013-05-22 14:08
Dale Cregan. (Greater Manchester Police, AFP)

Dale Cregan. (Greater Manchester Police, AFP)

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London - A man who admitted killing two policewomen in a gun and grenade attack that shocked Britain changed his plea at the 11th hour on Wednesday and admitted having previously murdered a father and son using similar methods.

Dale Cregan, aged 29, pleaded guilty to the two killings on the eve of his lawyer's closing speech during his trial at Preston Crown Court in northwest England.

He had hitherto denied gunning down Mark Short, aged 23, in a pub in nearby Manchester and killing David Short, aged 46, in a gun and grenade attack at his home elsewhere in the city.

Cregan also pleaded guilty to the attempted murders of three other men who were in the same pub as Mark Short on 25 May last year.

He also admitted causing an explosion with a hand-grenade at a house in Manchester but denies attempting to murder the householder.

He remains on trial for this final charge.

Four murders, three attempted murders

Cregan's lawyer Simon Csoka told the jury: "You may think after what has just happened, in a calm and almost clerical way... you may think 'what does it matter now?', 'what difference does it make?, 'why does Dale Cregan care?'.

"He is going to be sentenced for four murders and three attempted murders. He is not going anywhere. He is going to die in prison."

But he said the standards of judging the evidence against him on the allegation of attempted murder "remain exactly the same".

In February, Cregan had changed his plea and admitted killing unarmed police constables Fiona Bone, aged 32, and Nicola Hughes, aged 23, after luring them to a house last September.

Murders of police officers are rare in Britain and the killings sparked an outcry, with thousands lining the streets of Manchester for their funerals in October.

Their deaths reopened a long-running debate about whether British police should regularly carry weapons like their counterparts in the United States and many other countries.

Cregan handed himself in to a police station after the police officers were killed.

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