Police killer Dale Cregan admits father-son murders
Cregan, 29, had already admitted murdering two policewomen in Hattersley, Greater, Manchester, last September, when he changed his pleas in the second week of his trial at Preston Crown Court.
His trial continued as he maintained he had not gunned down Mark Short, 23, in a pub in Droylsden and that he had not killed David Short, 46, in a gun and grenade attack at his home in Clayton.
On the eve of his barrister’s closing speech to the jury he changed his pleas to those allegations and stood up in the dock and admitted his guilt.
He also admitted causing an explosion with a hand-grenade at an address in Droylsden but denies attempting to murder the householder.
Cregan lured unarmed police constables Fiona Bone, 32, and Nicola Hughes, 23, with a bogus emergency call before using a Glock handgun and a military grenade to kill them on September 18 last year.
The murder of David Short the previous month was done in a similar manner using the same gun and the same type of grenade.
In May, Cregan had gunned down Mark Short as he played pool in the Cotton Tree pub in Droylsden.
His barrister, Simon Csoka QC, began the day by asking six of the seven remaining counts to be put to his client.
Cregan, wearing a grey Adidas top, then stood up and calmly answered “guilty” to murdering Mark Short and David Short.
He pleaded guilty to the attempted murders of John Collins, Ryan Pridding and Michael Belcher, who were all in the Cotton Tree at the time on the evening of May 25 last year.
He also admitted causing an explosion at a property in Luke Road, Droylsden, on August 10, shortly after the murder of David Short.
The jury foreman was then invited by trial judge Mr Justice Holroyde to formally return guilty verdicts on those counts.
The judge then told the jurors that the defendant remained on trial for the single allegation remaining against him - that he attempted to murder Sharon Hark at her home in Luke Road.
In his closing speech, Mr Csoka said: “Members of the jury, your task is now so much more simple.
“You knew within a few days of this trial starting that Dale Cregan had killed those two policewomen.
“You now know for sure that he has murdered four people and that he has attempted to murder others inside the Cotton Tree pub.
“Ordinarily in a closing speech the defence barrister will tell you how important your task is, how it makes so much difference, how the liberty of the defendant hangs in the balance.
“All of those words mean nothing now, absolutely nothing.
“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”.