Northern Ireland news

Greenvale to close on first anniversary of deaths as a mark of respect

Connor Currie (16), Lauren Bullock (17) and Morgan Barnard (17) died during a crush outside the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown last year
Connla Young

The Co Tyrone hotel where three teenagers died in a St Patrick’s night crush is set to close its doors to mark the first anniversary of the tragedy.

Morgan Barnard (17), Lauren Bullock (17) and 16-year-old Connor Currie died as hundreds of young people queued to get into the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown on March 17 last year.

The deaths sparked an outpouring of grief across counties Tyrone, Derry and Armagh.

It has now emerged that the Greenvale Hotel will close its doors at 5pm on St Patrick’s Day as a mark of respect for the three teenagers and their families.

Hotel owner Michael McElhatton is known to have been deeply impacted by the deaths at the venue.

A ‘service of healing' involving a Catholic priest and a Protestant minister was held at the hotel last year, which was attended by Mr McElhatton and staff members.

The businessman, and a 40-year-old man, believed to be a member of the hotel’s door staff, were arrested on suspicion of manslaughter last March. Both were later released on bail.

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

However, 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 dugs. It is believed the white powder was a cleaning agent.

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

Police yesterday said eight other men have been interviewed under caution with seven being “further interviewed under caution”. They will now be subject to a report to the PPS.

The Police Ombudsman is also currently investigating the actions of seven PSNI officers on the night the teenagers died.

Five officers are being investigated for the criminal offence of misconduct in public office while two other officers are being investigated in relation to potential disciplinary matters.

The investigation was launched when former chief constable George Hamilton referred the PSNI to the ombudsman after it emerged that four officers withdrew from the scene. It later emerged that they did not intervene for 16 minutes.

A spokesman for the Police Ombudsman last night said “the investigation is ongoing”.

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