- Dale Cregan is accused of killing PCs Nicola Hughes and Fiona Bone plus a father and son. He also faces charges for attempted murder of four others
- Area around Manchester court today swarming with police and team of armed police guarded him in the dock
- In 2-minute hearing he was remanded in custody and told he will return to go before the crown court on Monday
- A member of the Short family was in court wearing a message 'RIP Mark'
- Cregan stared into the public gallery and witnesses said he looked bored and yawned
- David Cameron in Manchester to meet families of dead police officers
By Martin Robinson
PUBLISHED: 04:00 EST, 21 September 2012 | UPDATED: 13:05 EST, 21 September 2012
Swamped in the dock by armed police during one of the biggest security operations ever seen at a UK court, Dale Cregan appeared in front of a judge charged with four murders today.
He is accused of killing PCs Nicola Hughes and Fiona Bone in a gun and grenade attack in Hattersley, Greater Manchester, as well as David Short and his son Mark in separate attacks.
Police with machine guns also swarmed around the city's magistrates court building as the hearing took place after two armed units accompanied the convoy of six vehicles which took him there on a dark and grim morning.
Surrounded by at least five officers with rifles, with his false black onyx eye ball in his left eye socket, the judge remanded him in custody and ordered him to appear before the crown court on Monday.
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Court sketch: As one of Britain's most-protected suspects Cregan, with a beard and his Onyx left eye, stood in the court today absolutely swamped by police, including some with machine guns
Cregan, wearing a dark blue sweatshirt, was brought into court at 10.08am for the hearing, which lasted just two minutes.
The accused was brought into the secure dock flanked by four police officers while more officers with guns dressed in military-style fatigues.
In unprecedented scenes, a further two officers with sub-machine guns were in the public gallery, a pair stood at the back of the court with several more heavily armed officers were in the corridor immediately outside.
Cregan, who has grown a thick beard and looked gaunt, scanned the courtroom and stared over at the public gallery on several occasions, where relatives of the Short family were seated.
Crowd: Cregan was rushed into Manchester Magistrates' Court in this van (centre) morning sandwiched by a fleet of six police vehicles
Standing guard: Officers armed with machine guns stood in the rainy dank conditions as Cregan was swept to face magistrates
Driven: Police officers stand guard as Dale Cregan arrives in an armed convoy to face charges of murder and attempted murder
Visitor: Michelle Short, widow of David Short
and mother of Mark Short, was in court while another family member wore a
hoodie with a tribute to Mark on it
He was also seen yawning and described as looking disinterested.
Michell Short, the wife of David Short and mother of Mark, was in the court for the hearing.
It came as Prime Minister David Cameron arrived in Manchester.
He met relatives of both Pc Bone and Pc Hughes at the force's headquarters as part of the hour-long visit.
Proud: Father Bryn Hughes hugs PC Nicola Hughes - who was murdered last Tuesday in a gun and grenade attack
Victim: Fiona Bone, left, with partner Clare Curran. The couple were planning their civil partnership ceremony
Convoy: Cregan, held in the police van with the blue roof, was swept quickly out of court after his hearing with huge police protection
Custody: Cregan was driven to the nearby Strangeways prison, where the gates were already open, allowing the van to speed straight into its huge complex where he will be held until Monday
Charged: Cregan is also accused of the murders of David Short (left) and his son Mark Short (right)
It was not disclosed exactly who he met but he spoke to them in one room at the same time.
It is understood the Prime Minister expressed a wish to meet the two families.
Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy also updated him on the investigation before he departed.
During today's hearing Cregan sat down as he was brought into the dock but got to his feet after he was asked to stand by District Judge Jonathan Taaffe.
Fun loving: Nicola Hughes, left joking about as a barmaid and right with a friend, was known and loved for her sense of humour
Missed: Her friends and family have revealed
their pain after Nicola's murder - pictured here with friends having a
good time away from work
Pretty: Nicola, right, with her stepmother Nat as a bridesmaid on her wedding day to Nicola's father Byrn
Happy: Nicola, far left, is playing the vamp with pals in a photo posted on Facebook
He wore a false black onyx eye in his
left eye socket and spoke only to confirm his name and date of birth to
the courtroom, which was packed with reporters.
Judge Taaffe then read out the eight charges the defendant faces, including that of murdering the two officers.
'You will be remanded into custody, please go with the officers,' the district judge told him.
CREGAN SENT TO STRANGEWAYS
Dale Cregan will spend the weekend at Manchester’s infamous Strangeways prison (above).
His police van sped him to the jail only a mile away from the magistrates court in central Manchester that he appeared before this morning.
The judge told him he would be remanded in custody and will appear at the crown court on Monday, where he could ask for bail.
Its famous design has a central snowflake shaped building, with two blocks and ten wings of cells running from it with a famous giant watchtower rising upwards.
It has housed various infamous killers who have appeared at Manchester Magistrates Court and were remanded in custody there to await trial.
Ian Brady, the Moors Murder was held there as was ‘Dr Death’ Harold Shipman.
Strangeways has more than 1,200 prisoners and was originally built in 1868. It was also one of the first in Britain to have permanent gallows, used to hang more than 100 people up until 1964. Many were buried in the grounds of the prison in unmarked graves.
Much of the prison was damaged or destroyed during riots by inmates there in 1990 (above)
Between April 1 and April 25 almost 150 and 47 prisoners were injured - including one death among the prisoners. It needed £80m of Government cash to rebuild it and Strangeways was then renamed Her Majesty’s Prison, Manchester.
There was no application for bail by Cregan's solicitor, David Caplin.
He was then swept away again in a police van, which sped as part of a convoy that took him back to the infamous Strangeways prison in the heart of Manchester.
Earlier, two armed response units from Greater Manchester Police were brought in, in one of the most heavily guarded court hearings in British history.
As the van which held Cregan entered the court’s underground car park, four armed police officer emerged from a 4x4 to guard the gates.
Cregan is also accused of killing Mark Short at the Cotton Tree Inn in Droylsden, Tameside, on May 25 and his father David in an attack at his home in Clayton, Manchester, on August 10.
Cregan is also accused of the attempted murders of Michael Belcher, Ryan Pridding John Short and Sharon Hark.
Four armed policemen carrying Heckler and Koch sub machine guns took places inside the courtroom ahead of Cregan's scheduled appearance in the dock.
Four members of the public were escorted to seats in the pubic gallery, one wearing a jacket bearing photo prints of Mark Short and 'RIP Mark'.
The 28-year-old man arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder has been released without charge, police said tonight.
Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan said: 'As we have said before, this remains a complex investigation and we are fully investigating the circumstances surrounding the murders of Pc Fiona Bone and Pc Nicola Hughes.
'We have been touched by the many thousands of messages received from the public who are as shocked as we are and as a force we want to thank them for their support over the last few days.
'I would urge anyone who has any information to assist this investigation to do the right and just thing and contact us.'
Meanwhile, it has emerged that armed police staged a raid at the housing estate in Hattersley two weeks before the two officers were killed there.
A search took place on the morning of August 16 at a house near the murder scene as part of the hunt for Cregan, who was wanted over the deaths of the Shorts. No arrest was made in relation to the August 16 search.
Cregan, 29, also faces four charges of attempted murder, three in relation to the shooting in the Cotton Tree Inn.
Michael Belcher, Ryan Pridding and
John Short suffered leg and back injuries when an armed assailant
wearing a balaclava entered the pub and shot them.
Short, 46, was found dead at his home in Folkestone Road East after
police were called there following reports of gunshots.
A hand grenade
was also used in that attack.
Less than 10 minutes later, there was another grenade explosion outside a house in Luke Road in Droylsden. No-one was injured in that incident.
The fourth attempted murder charge relates to the incidents that day. Cregan is accused of trying to murder Sharon Hark.
Meeting: Prime Minister David Cameron speaks with Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police Peter Fahy as he visited their HQ today
Sad: The Prime Minister met the loved ones of the two dead police officers and received an update on the investigation into their death from Sir Peter
Crestfallen: Emotional police officers stand by a floral tribute near the scene where two female police officers were shot
Distraught: Officers are still being seen sobbing over their colleagues' deaths - which have shocked the whole of the country
Moving: A sea of flowers is now on the lawn close to where the two PCs died
Probe: A fire engine lifts forensic offices above the house where two female police officers were shot, in Hattersley near Manchester
Cordoned off: Police and forensic officers work are still working at the scene - and the road where it happened is still closed
Following the deaths of the officers the Greater Manchester force has received over 30,000 messages on its online book of condolence, more than 20,000 have been posted on the force’s Facebook page and more than 1.3 million people have viewed the tribute to the officers on Facebook.
Police from across the country have also offered to provide cover so officers can attend the funerals of Pcs Bone and Hughes.
Mr Shewan added: ' I want to say a heartfelt thank you for everyone’s kind offer of support to Greater Manchester Police.
'People and organisations from every walk of life have contacted us to pledge their support and to give up their time.
'Today, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) will be releasing a note to all forces to explain that we will be grateful to take up all genuine offers of assistance, but they will of course need some time to organise the logistics of this.
'However these kind offers haven’t just come from within the police family. We have had volunteers from numerous different organisations offering to help out. We will find a way to work with any members of the public and any organisations who want to show their solidarity.
'We will work with other forces to arrange the support from within the police service but, just as importantly, we promise to come back to everybody, no matter where they are, as soon as we can.
We will do our utmost to ensure that everyone who has offered their help will be able to do so.
'Once again, thank you for your support - it really makes a difference.'
A 22-year-old, from Netherley, Merseyside, was bailed last night after he was arrested on Wednesday for setting up a Facebook page lauding Cregan as a 'legend'.
Case: The convoy sped in at around 8am, where its lights cut through the gloom as police officers watched on
Gloomy: A giant roadblock has been set up around the area, full of police
Protection: Roads were blocked by cars and dozens of officers stood in the streets of central Manchester
View: An armed police officer looks out of a car window as Dale Cregan is driven into City Magistrates Court in Manchester
Scene: The murders of two PCs has shocked Britain and huge numbers of police have been brought in to deal with the situation
Almost unprecedented numbers of police and armed officers lined the route the convoy followed
VIDEO: Cregan arrives in court this morning
VIDEO: David Cameron pays tribute to the two killed police officers
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