Dale Cregan trial: One-eyed defendant’s phone sited in Droylsden shortly after Cotton Tree murder of Mark Short
TRIAL: Dale Cregan, 29
Dale Cregan’s mobile phone records show him to have been in Droylsden less than two hours after Mark Short was gunned down at the Cotton Tree pub, Preston Crown Court was told today.
Cell-site analysis showed Cregan’s phone travelled from Mottram, where Cregan later murdered PCs Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes, to Droylsden between 1.47am and 5.03am on May 26, hours after Mr Short’s death.
Matthew James, who – along with Ryan Hadfield – the Crown allege acted as a ‘spotter’ for Mr Short’s killers, was cell-sited in the area of the Cotton Tree between 2.55pm and 9.33pm.
Nicholas Clarke QC, for the prosecution, made it plain that cell-site analysis proves the locations of the phones, but not conclusively that of the individuals.
Cregan, 29, of no fixed address, is charged with the murder of Mr Short, along with James, 22, from Clayton, Luke Livesey, 27, from Hattersley, Hadfield, 28, from Droylsden, Damian Gorman, 38, from Glossop, and Leon Atkinson, 35, from Ashton-under-Lyne.
All six co-accused are pleading not guilty to the charge of murdering Mark Short, as well as the attempted murder of John Collins, Ryan Pridding and Michael Belcher.
The jury heard there was no activity on Cregan’s phone, as well as co-defendants Gorman’s and Livesey’s, around the time of Mr Short’s death.
Mr Short was shot dead just before midnight on May 25, and all three men’s phones were inactive between 11.10pm and 1.25am on May 26.
The phones had been in regular contact with each other, mutual friends and the other three men accused of the murder throughout the day.
Darren Geener (sic) Daren Greener – SYTECH, Systems Technology Consultants Ltd, a forensic communications consultant, presented the court with a detailed cell-site analysis of the phones registered to all six men accused of killing Mr Short.
Cregan, Livesey and Gorman were all cell-sited as having been in the vicinity of the Organ pub in Stalybridge during the afternoon of May 25.
Cregan’s phone received a call from James’ while at The Organ pub during the afternoon. James’s phone made another call to Cregan’s, again from the Cotton Tree area, at 9.53pm, before his phone was tracked as moving towards his home in Clayton.
James deactivated his phone the day after Mr Short’s murder and procured a new one on May 28, the jury were told.
A taxi driver told the court earlier in the week that he took three men from The Organ to Droylsden, picking up a fourth man from the New Inn, Hollingworth, which cell-site analysis suggests was Hadfield as he received a call there at 10.17pm.
Mr Geener told the court the movement of Gorman’s and Livesey’s phones were indicative of them having taken this journey.
However, analysis showed Cregan’s phone did not make this journey, according to Mr Geener, and instead travelled back to Hollingworth. However he pointed out that this does not prove Cregan did not make the journey, only that his phone, which was used throughout the day, did not.
Atkinson, who the Crown allege arranged the hit on Mr Short, had his phone cell-sited as travelling between his Squires Lane home to Prestatyn in North Wales between 6.12pm and 10.21pm on May 25.
The Crown are accusing him of going to Prestatyn to give himself an alibi for Mr Short’s death and his phone was in regular contact with his co-defendants’ during the day.
The first witness of the day, Elaine Robinson, a phone call data analyst for Greater Manchester Police, told the court Atkinson’s phone had been in contact with his mother Theresa’s on May 13.
Raymond Young, a member of the Short family, hit Mrs Atkinson in the Cotton Tree on May 13 after an argument, which she reacted to by saying the Shorts were ‘all dead’, the court was told last week by Mr Short’s mother Michelle Kelly.
Phone records showed Mrs Atkinson to have rung her sons Leon, Frankie Jnr and Jordan soon after this alleged incident.
The following morning, Atkinson’s phone called Cregan’s, and Cregan seems to have quickly contacted the phones of Livesey, James and Gorman, who was in Spain at the time.
Atkinson’s phone was then contacted by a phone belonging to Mr Young – with the call lasting over seven minutes – before the phones of Atkinson and Cregan came into contact again.
Cregan is also charged with the murder of Mr Short’s father, David, in a gun and grenade attack, alongside Francis Dixon, 37, from Stalybridge, Anthony Wilkinson, 38, from Manchester, and Jermaine Ward, 24.
All four are charged with the attempted murder of Sharon Hark on the same day, August 11, and a single charge of causing an explosion.
Cregan has already pleaded guilty to the murders of PC Bone, 32 and PC Hughes, 23, on September 18.