Category Archives: Police Officers killed / maimed
One-eyed police killer Dale Cregan is set to die in prison with a whole life sentence for murdering four people after his long-running trial came to an end today.
Cregan, 30, had previously pleaded guilty during the trial to killing policewomen Nicola Hughes, 23, and Fiona Bone, 32, and father and son David Short, 46, and Mark Short, 23, last year.
He also admitted the attempted murders of three others and causing an explosion with a hand-grenade.
A jury at Preston Crown Court today found him not guilty of one remaining count of attempted murder involving a grenade attack on Sharon Hark, which he denied.
Cregan went on the run days before he killed David Short last August after he gunned down his son, Mark, in a pub in Droylsden, Greater Manchester, three months earlier.
The manhunt reached a ghastly conclusion on September 18 when he lured the unarmed constables with a bogus 999 call to a house in Abbey Gardens in Hattersley.
He gave a false name as he reported a concrete slab had been thrown through a back window.
His last comment to the call handler as he was told officers were on the way was: “I’ll be waiting.”
He opened the front door as they walked up the front garden path and immediately shot them in the chest with a Glock handgun.
Cregan shot Pc Hughes eight times, including three strikes to the head as she lay on the ground.
Pc Bone was hit up to eight times after she managed to draw and fire her Taser as Cregan discharged 32 bullets in total in barely half a minute.
He then left his “calling card” of a military grenade which he threw it on the path where the two officers lay.
The killer then dropped his gun and drove a short distance to Hyde police station where he calmly walked up to the counter clerk and said: “I’m wanted by the police and I’ve just done two coppers.”
Cregan put his arms out to be handcuffed and said he was there to hand himself in.
He then told an officer: “I dropped the gun at the scene and I’ve murdered two police officers. You were hounding my family so I took it out on yous.”
On May 25 last year a balaclava-clad Cregan stepped into the Cotton Tree pub in Droylsden and shot Mark Short who died in the arms of his father David.
On August 10, Cregan targeted David Short outside his home in Clayton, Greater Manchester as he unloaded furniture from his car.
He chased him through and out of his house and shot him numerous times before a grenade was thrown at him with “devastating consequences” for his torso – the first time a military grenade had been deployed in the country in this way.
Cregan was on trial with nine other men who faced allegations concerning the deaths of either David or Mark Short.
The first lot of verdicts were delivered in silence in the packed courtroom save for some stiffled gasps as not guilty verdicts were returned on some counts.
Fiona Bone’s sister, Vicky Bone shook her head and her father Paul Bone leaned back in his seat.
David Short’s wife Michelle Kelly also shook her head, sat beside her other members of her family wiped away tears.
Verdicts were also returned on the nine other defendants.
Leon Atkinson, 35, from Ashton-under-Lyne, Ryan Hadfield, 29, from Droylsden, and Matthew James, 33, from Clayton, were cleared of the murder of Mark Short in the Cotton Tree pub and the attempted murders of three others in the pub.
Luke Livesey, 28, from Hattersley, and Damian Gorman, 38, from Glossop, were found guilty of those charges
Anthony Wilkinson, 34, from Beswick, pleaded guilty during the trial to murdering David Short and possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life. He was cleared of one count of the attempted murder of Mrs Hark on the same day and cleared of causing an explosion with a hand grenade.
Francis Dixon, 38, from Stalybridge, was acquitted of the murder of David Short, the attempted murder of Mrs Hark and causing an explosion with a hand grenade.
Jermaine Ward, 24, was found guilty of the murder of David Short but cleared of the attempted murder of Mrs Hark and causing an explosion with a hand grenade.
Mohammed Ali, 32, from Chadderton, was found guilty of assisting an offender.
The Crown had alleged that last summer’s violence was sparked by a “long-standing feud” between two rival Manchester families – the Shorts and the Atkinsons.
The Cotton Tree shooting was said to have been ordered by Atkinson and carried out by Cregan with the help of others.
Proceedings were adjourned until 2.15pm by Mr Justice Holroyde when he will hear mitigation.
Sentencing may follow today.
Cregan smiled and shook hands with the other defendants after the verdicts. His co-accused Wilkinson looked directly at the public gallery where the victims’ families were seated, with a broad smile on his face.
At 1.10pm, on the 77th day of the trial, and on the sixth day of deliberations, the jury came back into court with unanimous verdicts on all counts, but the defendants were ordered to remain seated as the verdicts were given.
Atkinson, the man accused of organising the initial murder, looked at the floor and put a hand on his head as he was cleared of all charges.
Dixon shouted “Yes!” as he was cleared. Ward, sitting behind him, burst into tears.
As Cregan was cleared of the remaining count he faced, there was a shout of “Yeah!” from the back of the dock and Cregan turned around with a smile.
Trial judge Mr Justice Holroyde QC told the jury that matters may be concluded today, with the convicted defendants sentenced, later this afternoon, subject to legal discussions.
Roderick Carus QC, defending Atkinson, asked for his client to be discharged, along with those of the other defendants cleared of all charges – Hadfield, James, and Dixon.
Dixon is on a life licence for his past serious convictions, which the jury was not told about as they were ruled inadmissible.
Cregan shook hands with Wilkinson and Ali as they were taken down past him in the dock.
Some of the senior police detectives looked grim-faced as they left court.
Mark Leech editor of Converse the national newspaper for prisoners said Cregan typified the kind of individual that deserved to die in jail.
“So often we hear of prison sentences being handed out to those who could easily be dealt with in the community – Cregan represents the kind of dangerous individual who belongs at the extreme far end of that offending scale and rightly he should die in jail.
“All those he murdered had a right to life, they each had loved ones and all of them had a right to a future – the two police officers he murdered ironically came to what they thought was his aid and he butchered them; he deserves to die in jail.”
A man found shot dead alongside his female partner was a retired police inspector of 30 years’ service, a detective have said.
The pair were found dead at a property in Wiltshire on Saturday morning after neighbours alerted the police having heard gunshots.
Detective Chief Inspector Ian Saunders said the man, who has not been named, retired about five or six years ago.
The detective also confirmed that the woman was not the man’s wife, but his partner. Mr Saunders said the bodies were discovered inside the porch.
“The investigation has so far identified that yesterday morning some neighbours overheard a number of gunshots from the address,” he said.
“The investigation continues to try and establish what led to this tragic incident.”
The man was named locally today as Bill Dowling, and his partner Vicky.
One neighbour on the 50-property cul-de-sac, who asked not to be named, said she heard a single gunshot shortly before 8.40am yesterday.
She said: “I thought it sounded like a bang on my door. I didn’t really think too much of it, so I went out to the shops. It was only a few hours later when I had a call from my son to come home that I put two and two together and realised what had happened.”
She said Mr Dowling lived alone at the two-storey property, but was regularly visited by his partner.
A lorry driver who killed a “one in a billion” police officer when his truck strayed on to the hard shoulder of a motorway has been jailed for two years and nine months.
Andrew Abernethy’s truck left the M1 near Wakefield, West Yorkshire, trapping Pc Mark Goodlad between his police car and another vehicle, Leeds Crown Court heard today.
Pc Goodlad was helping a stranded woman motorist with a flat tyre at the time.
A judge heard that Abernethy, 45, of Rembrandt Walk, Oldham, was driving an orange Scania articulated lorry which hit Pc Goodlad’s marked BMW X5 police car and a grey Suzuki Swift on the southbound carriageway of the M1, near the village of Crigglestone, in October last year.
The police car and the Suzuki were both stationary on the hard shoulder and officers said Pc Goodlad, 41, was between the two vehicles, helping the 51-year-old woman, Sharon Burgess.
Abernethy admitted causing death by dangerous driving.
Judge Scott Wolstenholme heard that Abernethy, who worked for a parcel firm in the Oldham area, set off from work with a load of bedding an hour before the collision.
The defendant told police he “lost momentary concentration” because he felt he had something in his eye and took his glasses off to try to remove the problem.
Police investigators believed the accident showed signs that Abernethy had fallen asleep at the wheel.
But with no other evidence to support this theory, the judge said he had to sentence on the basis of the defendant’s version of events.
Prosecutors said the lapse of concentration was not momentary.
Andrew Dallas, prosecuting, said a detailed investigation showed the lorry travelled down the hard shoulder for between 120 and 250 metres, which translated to between 4.8 and 10 seconds.
Mr Dallas said this showed “prolonged and complete inattention to the road ahead”.
The prosecutor said: “He drifted on to the hard shoulder and stayed there, notwithstanding the highly conspicuous obstruction ahead of it.”
The court heard that Pc Goodlad had pulled Mrs Burgess over to tell her about her flat tyre.
He began to help her change the tyre and was leaning into her boot when the lorry struck his patrol car, which was displaying its emergency lights.
Mrs Burgess suffered a glancing blow which resulted in minor injuries but the judge was told she also suffered severe psychological problems following the crash.
Judge Wolstenholme said to Abernethy: “You hadn’t been paying attention to the road for a considerable period of time in driving terms, all the while, trundling along in that enormous truck at 50mph.”
He said it would have been “obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving in that way would be dangerous”.
As well as the prison sentence, Abernethy was banned from driving for three years and ordered to take an extended test on his release.
Pc Goodlad, from Goole, East Yorkshire, had been an officer with West Yorkshire Police for 10 years.
He left a widow, Helen, and a 15-year-old son, Ben, from a previous marriage.
Today, in a statement read outside court by Detective Chief Inspector Simon Atkinson, Mrs Goodlad said: “The past 13 months have been agonising and today has been no different, though it does at least bring some closure for myself, my family and Mark’s family.
“We all know that Mr Abernethy did not set out that day with the intention of taking a life but it is without doubt that he is solely responsible for the death of my husband Mark.
“Mark wasn’t just part of my life. There are no words to describe how much I love and miss him. He was the most incredible, honourable and inspirational person that one could hope to meet.
“Mark loved his job and took great pride in his duties. He never overlooked any opportunity to help people because that’s why he joined the force and that’s where he found himself that day – at the side of a lady needing help.
“Mark died doing what he did best. He was a hero at work and a hero at home to his family. Mark was the perfect husband, father, son, friend and colleague.
“He was highly respected at work and adored at home.
“His death has not just affected those who knew him the best, but so many others whom he came into contact with throughout his life.
“It is no exaggeration to say he was one in a billion. He made me proud every single day.”
Mrs Goodlad said: “No matter what the outcome today, the fact remains that Mark is gone.
“I have been robbed of the life I had dreamed of with the person I loved more than anything in the world and Mark’s son has been left without his amazing father.
“I hope Mr Abernethy realises the devastation he has caused and that he feels genuine remorse for his actions.”
The court heard Pc Goodlad was also a carer for his disabled father, Barry.
Abernethy sat in the dock wearing a white t-shirt and flanked by a security guard.
Mr Atkinson said: “Mark was a well-liked and highly-respected officer who had stopped to help a member of the public at the roadside when this tragic incident occurred.
“He lost his life doing what officers do day in and day out, namely showing concern for and a desire to help others in difficulties and the force has been tremendously saddened by his loss.
“Policing is a dangerous profession but the police force is also a family and I know friends and colleagues have rallied round over this last 12 months to provide help and support for Helen and Mark’s son Ben.
“Our thoughts now remain with them at this difficult time.”
West Yorkshire’s temporary chief constable John Parkinson said: “Mark’s death was a tragic loss to the force.
“He was simply helping a member of the public at their time of need, which is what officers and staff do every day.
“Recognising his death was caused through the dangerous driving of Mr Abernethy, the conviction and sentence will now help to bring some closure to his wife and family.”
A police officer whose “irresponsible driving” left a colleague with severe brain damage has admitted careless driving.
Pc Ian Thompson was driving a marked police car at 75mph in a 40mph zone when he jumped a red light, crashing into a taxi which was crossing a dual carriageway in Basildon.
Reece Clarke, a special constable who was travelling in the passenger seat, suffered “devastating” injuries, Ipswich Crown Court heard. The taxi driver was also seriously injured.
Prosecutor Michael Crimp said: “A reasonable and prudent driver would not approach that junction at 75mph – he gave himself no opportunity to cope with any hazards.”
Thompson was responding to an emergency shortly before midnight on July 24 last year.
He claimed he feared another officer’s life was “potentially in danger”, but the court heard he might have exaggerated the seriousness of the emergency.
The 31-year-old officer, based in Wickford, Essex, had been charged with dangerous driving. He denied that offence but today admitted the lesser charge of careless driving.
Mr Crimp said that, after consultation with Mr Clarke’s family, this plea was acceptable and a trial on the original charge would not proceed.
Mr Clarke, from Shoebury, was based in Billericay and Wickford and was 19 at the time. He has required intensive rehabilitation since the incident.
Mr Crimp said: “The awful consequences of (Thompson) driving as he did are shown graphically in photographs of the aftermath.”
He added the prosecution did not “necessarily accept” that the driving had not been dangerous, but he said it was not in the public interest for the trial to proceed.
He said: “We have given due regard to the views of the taxi driver who was badly injured and to the family of the passenger who was very seriously injured.”
Allan Compton, mitigating, said Thompson had been responding to a genuine and unusual emergency involving a prisoner at Basildon police station.
The station was “lightly manned” at that time of night but was holding a large number of people in its cells.
“It was a type of emergency he had never before experienced in his career,” Mr Compton said.
He added that the phasing of the lights may not have normal safety margins built in.
“He regularly visits Reece Clarke and that is something Reece gets some comfort from,” he said. “He will continue to do whatever he can to help the Clarke family.”
Judge David Goodin ordered Thompson to pay a fine of £250 and said three penalty points would be added to his driving licence.
He must also pay £85 in legal costs and a £15 victim surcharge.
The judge said the prosecution had taken into account many factors including the “generosity” of Wendy Clarke, speaking on behalf of her son, in reaching its decision to not proceed with the charge of dangerous driving.
He added that he could not take into account the “very serious” injuries suffered by the taxi driver and the “devastating” injuries of Mr Clarke when passing sentence.
But he said Thompson’s behaviour had been “irresponsible and wrong”.
“You were going to a police station where, by definition, there were a number of police officers and custody staff who could deal with the emergency,” he added.
“You drove very fast indeed. There is no question of the red mist descending – you were responding in what you believed to be a proportionate way but it wasn’t.
“You drove at excessive speed in a town centre on a very, very busy intersection.”
Thompson, who was placed on restricted duties after the crash, will now face disciplinary proceedings.
Rachel Cerfontyne, commissioner at the Independent Police Complaints Commission, said: “Police officers are permitted to exceed the speed limit if deemed appropriate when responding to an emergency.
“On that night Pc Thompson reacted to a call for help to deal with a prisoner at Basildon Police Station. However, he failed to carry out a risk assessment as he approached the traffic lights.
“Sadly his driving fell far short of the standard to which he was trained and the consequences have been tragic for a young man and his family.”
A former detective jailed for life for murdering his partner and fellow officer whose body was discovered in a shallow woodland grave was found hanged in his cell today.
Peter Foster’s death at Lewes Prison in East Sussex comes just three days after a man who knifed his controlling stepfather to death was found hanged at the same jail.
Foster, a 36-year-old former detective constable, was jailed for life and told he must serve at least 17 years at Lewes Crown Court last month after admitting murdering his partner.
Foster stabbed Detective Constable Heather Cooper, 33, before dumping her body in Blackdown Woods, near Lurgashall, West Sussex, in October last year.
Foster’s death comes after Nathan Vaughan-Jones, who stabbed his stepfather to death after a long-running family feud boiled over, was found hanged at the same prison on Friday night.
The 34-year-old had been jailed for 11 years in March after pleading guilty to the manslaughter of 63-year-old Nigel Ross on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
Vaughan-Jones stabbed Mr Ross 41 times in the garden of his sister’s home in Mill Lane, South Chailey, near Lewes, East Sussex, on March 29 last year.
A Prison Service spokeswoman said: “HMP Lewes prisoner Peter Foster was found hanging in a cell at 3am on Monday July 30.
“Prison staff tried to resuscitate him and paramedics were called but he was pronounced dead at 3.25am.
“As with all deaths in custody, the independent Prisons and Probation Ombudsman will conduct an investigation.”
It is understood Foster was subject to suicide-prevention measures at the jail.
Miss Cooper was killed at the couple’s home in Haslemere, Surrey, while she was on maternity leave with her second child, who was born just weeks prior to her death.
The court heard that Foster claimed Miss Cooper had attacked him and he initially acted in self-defence but then his actions turned to aggression.
The hearing was told he hit her over the head 10 times with a baseball bat before stabbing her in the throat.
The court was also told that Foster did not have a clear memory of the events.
Miss Cooper, who grew up in York, joined Surrey Police in 2003 and worked in the Public Protection Investigation Unit based at Guildford police station.
During her career she received several letters of praise from senior officers for her work on various crimes and in 2009 was given a commendation by the force for her “professionalism, dedication and commitment”.
Sentencing Foster, Judge Richard Brown described him as an “extremely dangerous individual” who may never be safe to be let out of prison.
He said: “This was a wicked, savage and senseless attack on a young mother in her own home.
“Not only have you taken her life, you have also deprived Joshua and Isabel of a loving mother and, no doubt, devastated her family and friends.”
The judge added that aggravating factors were that the attack was carried out in front of the couple’s children, that the defendant was trained in martial arts, and the ferocity of the attack, which involved two weapons.
He told him: “Whether or not you will ever be released will be a matter for them.
“Many matters may point to you being an extremely dangerous individual.
“However, that’s a matter for the Parole Board, not me.”
Benjamin Aina QC, prosecuting, told the court Foster carried out the attack in front of the couple’s two young children, Joshua, now three, and Isabel, who was only three months old at the time.
Foster took time to clean up the blood-soaked crime scene and took Miss Cooper’s body to the woodland, where he covered it with bracken, Mr Aina said.
He also told his cousin, David Foster, some of the details about what happened, leading him to alert the police.
The court heard that Foster then led officers to where he had hidden Miss Cooper’s body after telling them they should arrest him for murder.
Philippa McAtasney QC, defending, said last month that Foster, who had been married previously, had made a “serious” attempt to commit suicide while on remand and was staying on a mental health wing of the prison.
She said Foster, who worked as a plumber after leaving the police, had over-reacted after Miss Cooper initially attacked him.
In a victim impact statement read to the court, Miss Cooper’s parents, James and Caroline Cooper, said the murder had an unimaginable impact on the two children who witnessed it.
“Through her death, Heather lost her children for 50 years of her life, Joshua and Isabel have been given a life sentence by the loss of their devoted mother.
“Heather would have been devastated to know she would not be able to bring up her children and Isabel would never know her mummy and Joshua would suffer grief at such a young age.”
A man wanted for murder after a police officer was killed has been found dead in an Essex churchyard.
Pc Ian Dibell (above) was shot dead on Monday night and a member of the public suffered leg injuries after Peter Reeve, 64, ran amok in a residential street in the seaside town of Clacton, Essex.
Police launched a manhunt involving hundreds of officers, vowing “not to rest” until they found Reeve.
Pc Dibell, who lived near the Redbridge Road crime scene, was off duty at the time and it is understood he intervened in a dispute.
Reeve was found dead in the village of Writtle, near Chelmsford.
Essex Chief Constable Jim Barker-McCardle said: “I can confirm Peter Reeve, the man wanted for the murder of a serving police officer, was found dead with a weapon in a Writtle churchyard and no shots were fired by the police.”
Mr Barker-McCardle said Pc Dibell had “paid the ultimate price” by placing himself in the line of fire while off duty, adding: “He was a highly regarded and well-liked community police officer.”
Mr Barker-McCardle declared that a number of lines of inquiry were being pursued as to the motive, adding: “There must have been some sort of catalyst that prompted the scale of a tragedy of this kind.”
He said a handgun had been used in the attack and Mr Reeve, who was “largely unknown to police”, did not hold a firearms licence.
He added: “We have had considerable support from the media and the public but Peter Reeve has been found and is dead.”
A police watchdog has outlined how warnings that Northumberland gunman Raoul Moat had threatened to harm his former partner while he was in prison were not acted upon by officers, according to reports.
Moat, 37, shot his ex-girlfriend Samantha Stobbart and killed her boyfriend Chris Brown two days after he was released from Durham Prison in July 2010. Moat shot Pc David Rathband the following day and later killed himself in Rothbury following a huge police manhunt.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigated officers’ involvement with Moat and, in its report last year, said that “intelligence came to light that whilst inprison he had allegedly made threats to cause serious harm to his girlfriend”.
This report said: “The intelligence was forwarded to Northumbria Police during the afternoon of 2 July and this is subject of a separate IPCC Investigation Report.”
This second report into the handling of the intelligence has not yet been published but a draft seen by the BBC says prison reports about Moat’s threats were not acted upon.
According to the BBC, the IPCC report says Moat made the threats in a conversation with another inmate who said he was threatening serious harm. It said the prison’s Security Information Report was passed between various prison in-trays and read and signed by at least three senior officers.
Information was passed to Northumbria Police’s Public Protection Unit but the IPCC report also said there was confusion over the identity of Moat’s partner.
It said information was also passed to the Northumbria Police Force Intelligence Bureau but staff had gone home for the night. But the report said there was no evidence of misconduct by two police officers.
Chief Superintendent Neil Adamson, of Northumbria Police, told the BBC the information from the prison was limited and there was no suggestion of an immediate threat to life. He said: “To try and suggest that we could have prevented that I think is a step too far. I am convinced he would have done what he intended doing, such was his focus.”
The IPCC said it could not comment on the unpublished report. A spokesman said: “The coroner is yet to decide whether an inquest into the death of Mr Brown will be held. It would be inappropriate to comment in advance of that decision.”