Northern Ireland news

Cookstown: Police appoint major investigation team to conduct probe into hotel tragedy

From left, Connor Currie (16), Lauren Bullock (17) and Morgan Barnard (17) died following a crush outside a St Patrick's Day disco at the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown

POLICE last night said a Major Investigation Team has been appointed to examine the Greenvale Hotel tragedy, which claimed the lives of three teenagers.

The PSNI said a specialist team of detectives had been assigned to "seek to establish the full circumstances of this dreadful incident".

Lauren Bullock (17), Connor Currie (16) and Morgan Barnard (17) died on Sunday night. Two were taken to hospital critically ill but later passed away, while the other died at the scene.

Several other teenagers were also treated in hospital.

Several hundred people were trying to get into the Cookstown venue for a St Patrick's night disco when the tragedy unfolded.

Read more: How the tragedy unfolded

Ambulance Service medical director Dr Nigel Ruddell said preliminary investigations showed there was a crush towards the front door of the hotel, which led to people falling.

Security camera footage is being examined and police have appealed for videos taken by those present.

PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said it would be an "extensive investigation with potentially hundreds of witnesses, many of whom are teenagers", adding that the probe would "rightly be painstaking and detailed".

He urged young people who were at the hotel to contact them.

"We are investigating the deaths of three young people, young people just like you. That is our focus. We want to be able to give their families answers and your recollection of the events as they unfolded is crucial."

The victims: 

Morgan Barnard's father describes the family's devastation

Connor Currie was 'much loved' 

Lauren Bullock remembered as 'a shining light'

Catholic Primate Eamon Martin said last night that "our heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of Lauren, Connor and Morgan, and with all of those who were caught up in the horror and distress of what happened, including those injured and traumatised, and the emergency services and staff who responded".

Sean McPeake, chairman of Mid Ulster District Council which has responsibility for licensing of entertainment venues, said it was working closely with the emergency services in the aftermath of the tragedy.

Books of condolence have been opened across the Mid Ulster Council area. The books opened this morning at Burnavon theatre in Cookstown, Ranfurly House in Dungannon and the Bridewell in Magherafelt.

Belfast Lord Mayor Deirdre Hargey tweeted that a book of condolence would open at Belfast City Hall at 11.30am.

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