Northern Ireland news

Cookstown: Councillor reveals how distraught parents rushed to hotel scene

SDLP councillor Denise Mullen was at the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown on Sunday
Connla Young

A COUNCILLOR has told how distraught parents rushed to Cookstown on Sunday night as news of the unfolding tragedy spread.

SDLP representative Denise Mullen was inside the police cordon as the full scale of the tragedy emerged.

The chair of the local Policing and Community Safety Partnership was alerted to the major incident after a distressed friend contacted her on Sunday night.

She immediately made her way to the hotel where she says she was met by distressing scenes, including frantic teenagers searching for lost friends amid the mayhem.

She reveals that the father of Lauren Bullock arrived at the scene unaware that his daughter had died and that a friend was also frantically searching for the teenager.

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“A young fellow came over to me and asked me to help him look for Lauren,” she said.

“It was horrendous, this lad (was) looking for his friend and me knowing that the friend is gone.”

Ms Mullen also revealed how she comforted the Martin Bullock, Lauren's father.

“I met Marty and he said ‘Denise, why am I here?’ and me knowing she was gone. It was terrible.”

The victims:

Morgan Barnard's father describes the family's devastation

 Connor Currie was 'much loved' 

Lauren Bullock remembered as 'a shining light'


The councillor told how she helped several young people to board buses which took them away from the scene of the tragedy.

The councillor said there is a “dark cloud” hanging over the area since Sunday night.

She also revealed that the distressing events of Sunday night have reminded her of the loss of her own father Denis who was shot dead by the UVF in September 1975.

“It’s because I have suffered such trauma in my life, it’s a just kicked in.”

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