We can now move on
Nine months ago, almost to the day, a grotesque and despicable outrage took place in Mottram.
When Dale Cregan lured two innocent police officers to their deaths, the lives of PCs Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes’ were lost and the entire country felt wounded.
Nowhere was that more true than in Mottram, the unfortunate stage of this horrendous tragedy. I was in Mottram in the aftermath of the shooting, and I saw the grief and dismay of local people first hand.
I was also there when thousands lined Deansgate to pay their respects to Fiona and Nicola as their coffins were taken to Manchester Cathedral.
It was a grim chapter for all of Greater Manchester, but one that is particularly raw for the people in the area I represent.
The random fact that an evil, dangerous criminal chose a street in Mottram as the place to ambush and murder two unarmed police officers, should be no stain on the reputation of the area.
I lived for several years in Mottram, just around the corner from the crime scene, and represented it first as a local councillor before I became the MP. It’s a great place to live - a place that people are rightly proud to call home.
It’s a strong, tight-knit community which is only stronger and tighter for having lived through this tragedy. The relationship between public and the police was strong nine months ago, and it’s even stronger now.
Now, 280 days on from his arrest in Hyde, Dale Cregan is finally in prison, in a cell he will never leave.
Nothing can bring back Fiona and Nicola, but the people touched by this tragedy can now perhaps move on. That will be what the people who live near the scene of Cregan’s crime want to do now.
With this terrible crime behind us, we have reasons to look forward. Mottram and Hattersley have some of the best schools in the whole of Greater Manchester.
We have new investment coming to the area, bringing new jobs and new houses as well as a brand new community Hub.
Crime is falling and community spirit is rising. But most of all, we have each other, a bond that the dreadful actions of those days nine months ago cannot break.
I feel both proud and honoured to be the Member of Parliament for the area, an area that is special to me and my family.
With the end of this trial, we can close this awful chapter and get on with writing the future; one that I believe is bright for the area of Mottram and Hattersley.
Published 20th June 2013