Northern Ireland news

Police have identified more than 700 people outside Greenvale Hotel on night three teens died

Connor Currie (16), Lauren Bullock(17) and Morgan Barnard (17) died during a crush outside the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown on St Patrick's night
Connla Young

POLICE have identified more than 700 people who were outside the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown when three teenagers died during a crush.

Morgan Barnard (17), Lauren Bullock (17) and 16-year-old Connor Currie were among those waiting to gain entry to the Co Tyrone venue on St Patrick's night.

Updated figures released by the PSNI showed that the force had identified a total of 708 people who were in the queue or hotel car park on the evening on March 17.

It also confirmed that 556 people had been interviewed or spoken to by “appropriately trained detectives”.

So far police have arrested two men as part of their investigation and interviewed eight other men under caution.

Those arrested were hotel owner Michael McElhatton (52) and a 40-year-old man, believed to be a member of the hotel's door staff, who were detained in March on suspicion of manslaughter.

Both men were later released on bail.

While in custody police revealed that Mr McElhatton had been further arrested on suspicion of possession of Class A drugs with intent to supply.

However, police shortly afterwards said he 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.

Mr McElhatton was questioned again over three days last month before being released pending a report to the Public Prosecution Service.

He had earlier appeared in Dungannon Magistrate's Court after police applied for a 36-hour extension to question him.

A 39-year-old man also voluntarily attended Dungannon police station last month.

He was one of eight men who have been interviewed under caution in connection with the investigation.

The other seven include one man aged 26, three aged 27, a 36-year-old, a 50-year-old, and a man aged 53.

Concerns have been voiced after it emerged that police officers who responded to the unfolding tragedy did not intervene for 16 minutes.

Police said that officers left the scene in order to get more information about what was happening.

It emerged this week that the Police Ombudsman is considering whether five police officers "have committed the offence of misconduct in public office” in relation to events that night.

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