It was 18th September 2012 when PCs Nicola Hughes and Fiona Bone, from Greater Manchester Police, were called to reports of criminal damage following a 999 call. As they arrived at the house in Abbey Gardens in Mottram, they were ambushed by Dale Cregan, a career criminal. He shot them with a Glock pistol firing 32 shots in 30 seconds. He then threw an M75 hand-grenade at the two officers. Nicola and Fiona didn’t stand a chance and both died from their injuries.
Nicola’s father, Bryn, said: “As a parent you remember with immense pride, that moment your child puts on their uniform as a police officer and swears to serve and protect the public. You recall with interest when they tell you about the training and how excited and nervous they are about going out on patrol on their first day. You think ‘wow this is my daughter’, and your heart swells with love and pride.
“Never in your darkest dreams do you think you will lose them doing the job they love, and never do you think that you will be standing at the new UK Police Memorial, remembering and honouring them.
“I remember the day Nicola died like it was yesterday. I initially thought she was off duty. I was driving home from work when I got a call from a Detective Chief Inspector who broke the news to me. Even now I remember the exact words he said to me, ‘there’s no easy way of saying this’.
“I cannot change the past however much I wish I could, but what I can do is to support the UK Police Memorial to ensure that police officers like Nicola and Fiona are remembered and never forgotten. I am encouraging everyone to support the building of the Memorial, not only to remember my daughter, but to honour the courage and sacrifice of all those from our Police service who have given us so much.”
Over recent months we have stood with pride outside our homes on a Thursday evening quite rightly remembering and paying tribute to NHS workers and thanking them for their courage and dedication. Yet every day members of our Police service put on their uniform and set out on the streets of our cities, towns and villages, to keep us safe and protect us from harm, without a second thought for their own safety. Tragically some like Nicola and Fiona never return home at the end of their shift.
Fiona’s father Paul Bone added: “The Arboretum is a place of inspiration and reflection, where families of our armed forces can remember the sacrifices of their loved ones.
“When we think of the largest peacekeeping force in the United Kingdom, it saddens me that there is no appropriate memorial to remember those police officers who have laid down their lives over the years for their country, at the place where the nation comes together and remembers.
“The new Police Memorial at the Arboretum will give my family some comfort, and the general public some knowledge of the sacrifices that officers have made to keep them safe.
“The memorial itself will be a fitting monument to the UK Police Service, both past, present and future. I look forward to standing, head bowed, at the Memorial, thinking of Fiona and all those others who have lost their lives, or been seriously injured carrying out the duties of a police constable.”
In 2013 Dale Cregan was convicted of the murder of PC Nicola Hughes and Fiona Bone. He was sentenced to life imprisonment with a recommendation that he should serve a whole life term.