Tuesday 22 October 2019

Over 600 people in queue or car park for St Patrick's day disco where tragic crush killed three teens

Lauren Bullock (17), Morgan Barnard (17) and Connor Currie (16) were killed in the tragedy
Lauren Bullock (17), Morgan Barnard (17) and Connor Currie (16) were killed in the tragedy
Lauren Bullock, one of three victims killed in the tragic incident
Connor Currie
Morgan Barnard
Floral tributes at the scene of the crush. Picture: Steve Humphreys
PSNI forensic officers at The Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown last week. Photo: PA

Jonathan Bell

THERE were 619 people in the queue or car park at the Greenvale Hotel for its St Patrick's night disco which ended in a a crush which killed three teenagers, police have revealed.

So far 267 people have been full interviewed by the PSNI's major investigation team with more interviews scheduled over the coming days.

“We are very aware that this continues to be an extremely traumatic time for all of those who were at the Greenvale Hotel and witnessed the terrible events of that night," Detective Chief Superintendent Raymond Murray in an update on the investigation on Wednesday.

Lauren Bullock (17) from Donaghmore, Morgan Barnard (17) and Connor Currie (16), both from Dungannon, died following the crush at the Greenvale Hotel as crowds of young people waited to gain entry to the venue on St Patrick's Day.

Greenvale Hotel owner Michael McElhatton and a 40-year-old man arrested on suspicion of manslaughter in connection with the incident have been released on police bail.

Chief constable George Hamilton has also called in the Police Ombudsman to investigate the initial police response. The first officers on the scene after a 999 call withdrew only to re-engage when the first ambulance crew arrived. Police said it was in the public interest the facts of their actions were established and examined.

Police have also agreed with prosecutors that those that may have been underage will not face investigation in a bid to encourage more people to come forward. Detectives have also visited schools to speak with children as part of their investigation.

"We have taken considerable steps to make it as easy as possible for them to provide their statements to police," Mr Murray said.

Floral tributes at the scene of the crush. Picture: Steve Humphreys
Floral tributes at the scene of the crush. Picture: Steve Humphreys

“Over 100 people attended the dedicated room at Burnavon Arts Centre and spoke to officers who are specially trained in interviewing young people. This facility has now closed and instead we are speaking to students at their respective schools. We are working closely with the local principals to accommodate this.

“As part of our investigation we have utilised the Major Incident Public Portal to allow people to upload mobile phone footage and images of the evening. We have been downloading mobile phone footage from people at the scene by using one of our Cyber Support Vehicles in Cookstown.

“It is still really important for anyone who has not yet contacted us to please come forward and work with police to help build an accurate picture of what happened that night.

“I would again reassure anyone with concerns, the focus of our investigation is not the age of people who were at the event – it is about trying to find answers for the families of the three teenagers who tragically died.”

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