Northern Ireland news

Further two police officers being investigated in connection with Greenvale tragedy

Connor Cirrie (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

A POLICE Ombudsman probe of the Greenvale Hotel tragedy has been extended to investigate two more officers, bringing the total to seven.

Morgan Barnard (17), Lauren Bullock (17) and Connor Currie (16) died in a crush as they queued for a disco outside the hotel in Cookstown, Co Tyrone, on St Patrick’s night.

The investigation was launched when the then chief constable Sir George Hamilton referred the PSNI to the ombudsman after it emerged that four officers withdrew from the scene without intervening. It later emerged that they did not return for 16 minutes.

Those officers and a fifth, involved in call handling, are being investigated for misconduct in public office.

Floral tributes at the Greenvale Hotel scene Picture Mal McCann.

The Irish News has learned that the investigation has been extended to include two more officers. It is believed they were in the area on St Patrick’s night.

Morgan Barnard’s father James Bradley said: “It’s now even more concerning that a further two officers are being questioned about their conduct on duty.

“I know these things take time but it’s disappointing that it has taken over four months to even start questioning officers involved in the tragic events that happened on March 17.

“We as a family still live every day with the raw pain of losing Morgan and as I’ve said all along all I want is the truth, accountability, and prevention.”

Solicitor Darragh Mackin of Phoenix Law represents Mr Bradley and Morgan’s mother Maria Barnard.

He said: “It is imperative that no stone is let unturned and that we get to the truth of what happened that night. It is vital that the family has access to the full facts and this information is provided in a timely fashion.”

A spokesman for the Police Ombudsman said: “At this stage we don’t want to comment on the investigation.”

In March hotel owner Michael McElhatton (52) and a 40-year-old man, believed to be a member of the hotel’s door staff, were arrested on suspicion of manslaughter. Both were later released on bail.

Mr McElhatton was questioned again over three days in June before being freed pending a report to the Public Prosecution Service.

A 40-year-old man arrested last month was later released pending a report to the prosecution service. Eight men have also been interviewed under caution.

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