One-eyed British fugitive 'laid trap to kill policewomen'

PRESTON, Britain (AFP) - A one-eyed fugitive in Britain lured two unarmed policewomen towards him before shooting them repeatedly and then lobbed a military grenade at his victims, a court heard on Thursday.

Dale Cregan, 29, wearing a false left eye made of black onyx, had evaded a nationwide manhunt when he set the trap in Manchester, Preston Crown Court in northwest England was told at the start of his trial.

Cregan has pleaded not guilty to murdering policewomen Nicola Hughes, 23, and Fiona Bone, 32, on September 18 last year.

He also denies the murders of David Short, 46, and his son, Mark, 23, who were gunned down in the months before.

The parents of the murdered policewomen were in court to hear prosecution lawyer Nicholas Clarke describe how Cregan lay in wait after luring them to a house by pretending there had been a burglary.

"He lay in wait with a Glock firearm with an extended magazine that was fully loaded," Clarke said.

"Pc Fiona Bone and Pc Nicola Hughes attended. As soon as they arrived Cregan shot the officers repeatedly, until his magazine was empty.

"As he left the scene he again threw a grenade towards the victims." The killings shocked Britain, where murders of police officers are rare.

The prosecution said Cregan was on the run from police at the time after he had shot dead father and son David and Mark Short in two separate attacks.

The jury heard that Mark Short was shot at a pub in Manchester on May 25 last year. He died in the arms of his father who had been in the pub toilet when the gunmen arrived.

He said: "At the time that his son Mark was shot, David Short, the head of the Short family, was using the toilet. Otherwise he himself would have been a target. His son died in his arms."

After his son was buried, his father visited his grave every day, but on the morning of August 10 he was at home when his killers came calling.

"He was chased through the house and shot many times," Clarke continued.

"He tried to run around the side of the house to escape. His injuries were already unsurvivable and then a grenade was thrown onto him.

"Its explosion had devastating consequences for his torso." "It is the first time in this country that a military grenade has been deployed in this way." The trial continues.

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