Female PCs 'lured to their deaths'
PC Nicola Hughes was killed in the line of duty while attending a 'routine incident' (Greater Manchester Police/PA)
One of the country's most wanted men has been accused of luring two unarmed female constables to their deaths in a brutal crime that shocked the nation.
Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy said the brave young officers had been sent to investigate what appeared to be a routine burglary report when Dale Cregan, 29, attacked them with a gun and a grenade.
Sir Peter named the "brave" officers as Fiona Bone, 32, and Nicola Hughes, 23.
He said: "It would appear Cregan has deliberately done this in an act of cold-blooded murder." He added that Cregan's motive for the attack was "impossible to fathom".
After the attack, the fugitive, already wanted in connection with separate gun and grenade attacks that killed a father and son, gave himself up at Hyde police station in Greater Manchester.
Sir Peter paid tribute to Miss Hughes, describing her as a "chatterbox" and a "great bobby" who was "always smiling". He said Miss Bone was a "calm, gentle woman", an "excellent bobby" and had been in the middle of planning her wedding.
Speaking at a press conference at GMP headquarters, Sir Peter said the force was "absolutely devastated" by the shootings, adding: "We are all shocked by what happened." He said there was nothing in the burglary report to suggest that armed police would be required.
Sir Peter said he believed Cregan had been "protected by a criminal conspiracy to harbour him", adding that the force was "fully determined" to investigate that conspiracy and bring those involved "to book".
He added: " This is one of the darkest days in the history of the Greater Manchester Police, if not for the police service overall, because we have lost two deeply-loved and valued colleagues, because they are part of our team, policing is very much a family."
Prime Minister David Cameron: "What we have seen is the absolutely despicable act of pure evil. The cold-blooded murder of two female police officers doing their job out there protecting the public; another reminder of the incredible risks and great work our police service does. My thoughts and I think the thoughts of the whole country will be with their families at this impossibly difficult time."