Fathers of police officers killed by Dale Cregan will 'never move on'

Fathers of police officers Nicola Hughes and Fiona Bone who were murdered by Dale Cregan say they will ‘never move on’ as they tell of their grief on 10-year anniversary of the killings

  • PCs Nicola Hughes, 23, and Fiona Bone, 32, were shot dead by Dale Cregan 
  • The Greater Manchester officers were responding to reports of a burglary
  • Paul Bone said his daughter’s death leaves a hole in his heart you cannot fill
  • Bryn Hughes, Nicola’s father, said ‘as a family, there is no moving on’
  • A service will take place on Sunday 18 September to remember the victims

The fathers of two police officers shot dead in the line of duty have spoken about the ‘hole in your heart you cannot fill’ with ‘no moving on’ ten years after their daughters were murdered. 

Greater Manchester PCs Nicola Hughes, 23, and Fiona Bone, 32, were shot dead by Dale Cregan while responding to reports of a burglary in Hattersley, Tameside, Greater Manchester, on 18 September 2012.

Fugitive Cregan lured unarmed PCs Hughes and Bone to a property with a hoax 999 call and when they arrived, he shot both women at least eight times before throwing a grenade at them. 

Cregan, who was already on the run for the murders of David, 46, and Mark Short, 23, at the time of the killings, is serving a whole life sentence behind bars. 

The fathers of both daughters have spoken about the loss they still feel ahead of the 10 year anniversary of their deaths on Sunday. 

Police officers Fiona Bone (left) and Nicola Hughes (right) were killed while on duty in 2012

Bryn Hughes and Paul Bone have spoken out ten years after their daughters were shot dead

Nicola Hughes with her father Bryn who said that the family were unable to move on

Paul Bone told BBC North West Tonight: ‘A hole in your heart is there. You can never actually fill it but you sort of get used to it.

‘[There’s] no way you can forget what happened and forget your own daughter. You always miss her.’

Bryn Hughes said ‘as a family, there is no moving on’, adding: ‘But I don’t think you want to move on.’

The fathers have campaigned for their daughters’ sacrifice to be officially recognised and Mr Hughes set up the PC Nicola Hughes Memorial Fund after her death to help others dealing with grief as a result of violent crime. 


Unarmed PCs Bone and Hughes were lured to a property with a hoax 999 call and when they arrived they were both shot

After the deaths in 2012, Mr Bone broke down in tears as he told how much his daughter loved her job.  

He said he had never feared such a terrible outcome, even though his days as an RAF groundcrew man had accustomed him to colleagues ‘not coming home’.  

His daughter was engaged to be married and had told fellow officers about arrangements for her forthcoming wedding. 

PC Bone had spoken to her partner about designing invitations before she set off for work, and police colleagues had given her some tips.

But a routine call to respond to a burglary later that morning saw ‘excellent bobby’ PC Bone and her ‘chatterbox’ colleague, PC Nicola Hughes brutally gunned down.

The officers will be remembered at a service at the Nicola and Fiona memorial garden at Hyde Police Station on Sunday 18 September. 

Family and friends, officers, colleagues, Members of Parliament, representatives from Tameside Council, and members of the local community will pay their respects.

At the service there will be a minute’s silence at 10:53am, wreaths will then be placed by the families and GMP’s Tameside District Commander, Chief Superintendent Phil Davies on behalf of Greater Manchester Police. 

Chief Superintendent Phil Davies said: ‘Although 10 years has past, the emotion and grief is still felt on anniversaries such as this and reminds us of the dangerous situations officers face on a daily basis.

‘On Sunday, we will come together with Nicola and Fiona’s families and honoured guests, to reflect on the passing of a decade since they made the ultimate sacrifice for the oath they took as police officers.

‘Nicola and Fiona’s essence and presence remain with us and is tangibly felt by those who knew and worked with them, but also their colleagues who have joined the GMP family after their passing.’

The memorial service will be open to the public. 

THE ONE-EYED POLICE KILLER 

One-eyed Dale Cregan is currently serving a life sentence for brutally killing four people, including two policewomen, in 2012 with guns and grenades.

Cregan’s killing spree started when he murdered amateur boxer Mark Short, 23, at a pub in Droylsden, Manchester, in April.

Three other people, believed to be related to the victim, were also wounded, suffering leg and back injuries.

Four months later Mark Short’s father David was killed in a gun attack in Clayton, Manchester. Mr Short had branded his son’s murderers ‘cowards’.

Nine minutes after the incident, police received reports that shots had been fired at a second property in Droylsden, where there was also a grenade blast. Nobody was injured in the incident.

Detectives said they wanted to speak to Cregan, who they had released in May after linking him to the first murder but did not have the evidence to charge him.

In September that year the killer used a fake 999 call to lure officers Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes to a house.

When they arrived, Cregan shot them and threw an M75 grenade at them. Both officers were hit by at least eight bullets as Cregan fired 32 shots in 31 seconds.

He later handed himself in at a police station, admitting to killing the unarmed women.

The gangster admitted the attempted murder of three others in a high profile court case the following year.

During his four-month trial, which began in February 2013, Cregan was detained at Manchester Prison.

The trial was held at Preston Crown Court, where scaffolding was erected to accommodate armed officers.

Police snipers watched over the building from nearby offices and the daily convoy, carrying Cregan between Manchester and Preston, included two prison vans, police cars, motorcycle outriders and a helicopter.

In total 120 Greater Manchester Police officers were deployed daily and the total cost of the trial was estimated to be in excess of £5 million.

Cregan was convicted of all four murders and three attempted murders and was sentenced to life imprisonment with a whole life order on June 13, 2013.

He was told he would never see release after admitting to the killings which prompted public outcry and an outpouring of sympathy for the police.

His accomplice, Anthony Wilkinson, was jailed for a minimum of 35 years for his part in the gun and grenade murder of David Short.

In April 2015 he was temporarily moved to the high-security psychiatric unit Ashworth Hospital in Merseyside after going on hunger strike for a second time.

He was said to have started refusing food at the Category A jail HMP Manchester, formerly known as Strangeways, after being moved to solitary confinement. 

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