Police call-handler 'fed information on hunt for Dale Cregan'

She passed details to her boyfriend who shared it with killer's mother, court told

A police call-handler fed secret information to her boyfriend during the massive manhunt for his friend Dale Cregan, a court heard today.

Kathryn Smith, 25, a civilian with Greater Manchester Police, used the police's computer systems while on her shift at force HQ to check developments in Operation Dakar - the hunt to find the one-eyed killer, it is alleged.

She passed information on to her boyfriend Sean Booth, 31, who lived on the same street and grew up with Cregan, which was shared with Cregan's mother Anita Cregan, 56.

All three deny a single count of misconduct in a public office, Smith by looking for and disclosing confidential information and Booth and Cregan by aiding and abetting her to commit the offence.

At the time of the alleged offence by the defendants, Dale Cregan was the prime suspect in the murders of father and son David and Mark Short, prosecutor Nicholas Clarke QC told Manchester Crown Court.

Mark Short was shot dead in the Cotton Tree Pub in Droylsden on May 25 last year and his father gunned down and blown up with a hand grenade at his home in Clayton, Manchester, 11 weeks later.

A £50,000 reward was put up for the arrest of Cregan, considered "extremely dangerous" by police, the court heard.

Officers swamped east Manchester and Droylsden, where Cregan lived, and bugged the Cregan family home on Sutton Drive, the jury heard.

At the same time Smith would go into work and "habitually" monitor events in the area, looking at information and maps on police computers that she, as a call handler, was not supposed to access.

"Whenever the system took her away to deal with a call from a different area, she would almost immediately drag it back to Droylsden," Mr Clarke told the court.

"She concentrated on the high level of police activity surrounding the manhunt for Dale Cregan and the Sutton Drive area where his family reside. Smith's role does not permit her to act this way."

The jury were shown screen-shots of her computer use on the evening of September 4 last year, showing how Smith viewed details of a call taken by police giving details of a possible sighting of Cregan on Manchester Road in Droylsden.

She used her computer to look up the exact locations of all the officers and police cars and vans in the area and accessed maps showing armed response patrols in the vicinity.

Smith, of Condor Close, Droylsden, and Booth and Cregan, both of Sutton Drive, Droylsden, all deny the offence, allegedly committed between September 1 2011 and September 9 2012.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home