Teenager describes 'pushing and shoving' outside Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown
A GIRL has described "pushing and shoving" in a crowd of up to 400 people outside a Cookstown hotel in an incident which claimed the lives of three teenagers.
Eboney Johnston (16) was outside the Greenvale Hotel on St Patrick's night waiting to enter a disco. Morgan Barnard (17), Lauren Bullock (17) and Connor Currie (16) died following the crush that ensued.
She said: "People just started to fall but as one person fell another went down.
"As a person went to lift another person up they were pushing and shoving and another person would fall, which caused a build-up of everybody lying there."
Police said today that up to 400 young people were standing outside the Co Tyrone venue and that more children could have died.
Ebony said she felt lucky to have survived the tragedy.
"We looked down and you could just see everybody lying there and then you could just see Connor himself being took out.
"It was just such a tragic situation. We are just all so lucky that it was not any of us.
"We nearly feel guilty because it was not us, we nearly feel bad, the families, what they are going through, it is awful."
- Leading mental health bodies say it's 'normal' for people linked to the Cookstown tragedy to experience distress
Police are urging young people to come forward and to speak to detectives and provide them with video footage.
Detective Chief Superintendent Raymond Murray, head of the PSNI's Serious Crime Branch, said young people and their parents need not have concerns about the fact "slightly underage" children were trying to enter licensed premises.
The Public Prosecution Service has agreed that would not be an issue in this case, he added.
"I want to reassure you, 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 – we need to know what you saw so the heartbroken families of Connor, Lauren and Morgan know what happened to their children," DCS Murray said.