Bring back hanging, demands tragic officer's father

Jonathan Brown and Paul Peachey

The call to the control room seemed routine -- one of hundreds of reports Greater Manchester Police deals with each day.

A resident was claiming a burglary had occurred at a house in Hattersley, a suburb to the east of the city.

The suspects were believed to have already fled. But while the details of the 999 call appeared banal, the results were tragic: it was a deadly trap. The call shortly before 10am yesterday was either made or instigated by the fugitive Dale Cregan (29), one of Britain's most-wanted and dangerous men, whom detectives have spent the past month pursuing over fatal grenade attacks on a father and son in a bitter underworld feud.

As two unarmed female police officers approached the house, they were fired on before a grenade was hurled at them. PC Fiona Bone (32) died at the scene while her colleague PC Nicola Hughes (23) later succumbed to her injuries in hospital.


Their deaths marked the bloodiest day in British policing for nearly 50 years -- the worst atrocity since 1966 when three officers were shot dead while questioning suspects in a van in west London.

Peter Fahy, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester, said it was one of the darkest days his force had confronted and said officers were "shattered" by the loss of "brave and courageous" colleagues. "It would appear Cregan has deliberately done this in an act of cold-blooded murder," he said. "When they arrived, it appears that Cregan emerged into the road and killed these two officers. A firearm was used, a grenade was also used."

David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, led the tributes to the fallen officers. "What we have seen is the absolutely despicable act of pure evil. The cold-blooded murder of two female police officers doing their job protecting the public -- another reminder of the incredible risks and great work our police service does," he said.

Victim Miss Bone's father Paul said: "Bring back hanging. Let policemen shoot people on sight. I am just so completely shocked."

Cregan handed himself into a local police station where he was arrested on suspicion of four murders.