Dale Cregan: Taxi driver thought he was a target

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A TAXI driver thought he was going to be shot by a masked gunman making his getaway after killing a man in a pub, the Dale Cregan murder trial heard yesterday.

One-eyed Cregan, who dramatically admitted on Wednesday to murdering two women police officers, is also said to have murdered Mark Short who was gunned down in the Cotton Tree pub in Droylsden last May.

The killings of Pc Nicola Hughes, 23, and Pc Fiona Bone, 32, last September came after Cregan went on the run following a revenge attack which erupted amid a simmering family feud in east Manchester, jurors have heard.

Cregan, 29, is alleged to have murdered David Short, 46, the head of the Short family, and his son, Mark, 23, who had rowed with another local family, the Atkinsons, in the months before murdering the policewomen.

He continues to deny the Short murders.

Cregan is said to have pulled up in a Ford Focus car outside the Cotton Tree on the night of May 25 with fellow murder co-accused Luke Livesey, 27, and Damian Gorman, 38, before a balaclava-clad gunman entered the pub.

Preston Crown Court heard how a passing taxi driver witnessed the assailant stand in the entrance and fire a gun from his outstretched hand as he heard “five or six bangs”.

In a statement read out to the court, Viqar Qureshi said: “I saw smoke and sparks come from a nozzle. I saw a black-coloured handgun. He was clearly letting off shots as he stood there.

“Once he left the entrance door he made his way to the Focus and got into a passenger side door. It was all over in a couple of seconds.”

The trial continues.