Northern Ireland news

Cookstown hotel owner Michael McElhatton released on bail

Greenvale Hotel owner Michael McElhatton was one of two men arrested on suspicion of manslaughter. Picture by Liam McBurney/ PA

The owner of a hotel where three teenagers died after a crush outside a St Patrick's night disco on Sunday has been released on police bail.

Michael McElhatton (52) was detained on Tuesday, along with a 40-year-old man, on suspicion of manslaughter following the deaths of Lauren Bullock (17), Morgan Barnard (17) and Connor Currie (16), whose funerals will take place tomorrow.

Police announced late yesterday he had been released.

A PSNI spokesman said he would return for further questioning at a future date.

The 40-year-old man, believed to be a member of the hotel's door staff, remains in custody.

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 

Mr McElhatton's release comes after he was "further arrested" yesterday on suspicion of possession of Class A drugs with intent to supply.

Police said officers had "conducted a search at a house in Moneymore and seized a quantity of suspected Class A drugs".

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Greenvale Hotel owner Michael McElhatton has been released on police bail

But just two hours later, police said Mr McElhatton had been "de-arrested" after fast-track forensic analysis of a "suspicious package consisting of a white-powder substance and tin foil" had ruled out the possibility of drugs.

In a statement, Mr McElhatton hit out at police and said he had to "make it completely clear" that he was not involved with drugs.

"I can assure everyone that whatever any suspicions the police have raised about me in relation to anything to do with drugs is totally without any basis," he said.

The victims:

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