Belfast Telegraph

Chief Constable George Hamilton apologises to parents of Greenvale Hotel tragedy victim

Morgan Barnard (17) died outside the hotel on St Patrick's Day
Morgan Barnard (17) died outside the hotel on St Patrick's Day

The PSNI Chief Constable has apologised for causing distress to the parents of one of the Greenvale Hotel tragedy victims.

On Thursday, George Hamilton met with the parents of 17-year-old Morgan Barnard, who died alongside Lauren Bullock (17) and Conor Currie (16) in a crush outside the Cookstown hotel on St Patrick's Day.

In the days following the tragedy, it emerged that police arrived on the scene as it was unfolding, but withdrew to await further support.

Their actions are now being investigated by the Police Ombudsman.

Friends and family of teenager Morgan Barnard attend his funeral in Dungannon. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Friends and family of teenager Morgan Barnard attend his funeral in Dungannon. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 22/03/2019 Friends and family of teenager Morgan Barnard attend his funeral in Dungannon this morning. Morgan and two others were killed in a tragic accident at the Greenvale Hotel on St Patricks night. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Mother Maria Barnard is held by her partner James Bradley as they follow the funeral cortege at St Patrick's Church, Dungannon after the funeral of their child, Morgan Barnard. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday March 22, 2019. Teenagers Lauren Bullock, Connor Currie and Morgan Barnard died after a crush at the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown, Co Tyrone, on Sunday. See PA story ULSTER Cookstown. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
22nd March 2019 Family and friends pictured as the coffin leaves St Patricks Church in Dungannon after paying respects to teenager Morgan Barnard who sadly passed away in a tragic accident on St Patricks day . Mandatory Credit :Stephen Hamilton
22nd March 2019 Family and friends pictured as the coffin leaves St Patricks Church in Dungannon after paying respects to teenager Morgan Barnard who sadly passed away in a tragic accident on St Patricks day . Mandatory Credit :Stephen Hamilton
22nd March 2019 Family and friends pictured as the coffin leaves St Patricks Church in Dungannon after paying respects to teenager Morgan Barnard who sadly passed away in a tragic accident on St Patricks day . Mandatory Credit :Stephen Hamilton
22nd March 2019 Family and friends pictured as the coffin leaves St Patricks Church in Dungannon after paying respects to teenager Morgan Barnard who sadly passed away in a tragic accident on St Patricks day . Mandatory Credit :Stephen Hamilton
22nd March 2019 Family and friends pictured as the coffin leaves St Patricks Church in Dungannon after paying respects to teenager Morgan Barnard who sadly passed away in a tragic accident on St Patricks day . Mandatory Credit :Stephen Hamilton
22nd March 2019 Family and friends pictured as the coffin leaves St Patricks Church in Dungannon after paying respects to teenager Morgan Barnard who sadly passed away in a tragic accident on St Patricks day . Mandatory Credit :Stephen Hamilton
The coffin of Morgan Barnard is taken from St Patrick's Church, Dungannon after his funeral. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday March 22, 2019. Teenagers Lauren Bullock, Connor Currie and Morgan Barnard died after a crush at the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown, Co Tyrone, on Sunday. See PA story ULSTER Cookstown. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
The coffin of Morgan Barnard is taken into St Patrick's Church, Dungannon for his funeral. Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Mourners at the funeral of Morgan Barnard at St Patrick's Church, Dungannon. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday March 22, 2019. Teenagers Lauren Bullock, Connor Currie and Morgan Barnard died after a crush at the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown, Co Tyrone, on Sunday. See PA story ULSTER Cookstown. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
The coffin of Morgan Barnard is taken into St Patrick's Church, Dungannon for his funeral. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday March 22, 2019. Teenagers Lauren Bullock, Connor Currie and Morgan Barnard died after a crush at the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown, Co Tyrone, on Sunday. See PA story ULSTER Cookstown. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Catherine McHugh (right), principal of St Patrick's College, Dungannon at the funeral of Morgan Barnard at St Patrick's Church, Dungannon. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday March 22, 2019. Teenagers Lauren Bullock, Connor Currie and Morgan Barnard died after a crush at the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown, Co Tyrone, on Sunday. See PA story ULSTER Cookstown. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Catherine McHugh (holding red and whit umbrella), principal of St Patrick's College, Dungannon at the funeral of Morgan Barnard at St Patrick's Church, Dungannon. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday March 22, 2019. Teenagers Lauren Bullock, Connor Currie and Morgan Barnard died after a crush at the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown, Co Tyrone, on Sunday. See PA story ULSTER Cookstown. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
PACEMAKER BELFAST 22/03/2019 Principal Catherine McHugh at St Patrick's College with Friends and family of teenager Morgan Barnard attend his funeral in Dungannon this morning. Morgan and two others were killed in a tragic accident at the Greenvale Hotel on St Patricks night. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Archbishop Eamon Martin arriving for the the funeral of Morgan Barnard at St Patrick's Church, Dungannon. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday March 22, 2019. Teenagers Lauren Bullock, Connor Currie and Morgan Barnard died after a crush at the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown, Co Tyrone, on Sunday. See PA story ULSTER Cookstown. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Archbishop Eamon Martin arriving for the the funeral of Morgan Barnard at St Patrick's Church, Dungannon. Pic: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
22nd March 2019 Family and friends gather at St Patricks Church in Dungannon to pay respects to teenager Morgan Barnard who sadly passed away in a tragic accident on St Patricks day Mandatory Credit :Stephen Hamilton
22nd March 2019 Family and friends gather at St Patricks Church in Dungannon to pay respects to teenager Morgan Barnard who sadly passed away in a tragic accident on St Patricks day Mandatory Credit :Stephen Hamilton
22nd March 2019 Family and friends gather at St Patricks Church in Dungannon to pay respects to teenager Morgan Barnard who sadly passed away in a tragic accident on St Patricks day Mandatory Credit :Stephen Hamilton
22nd March 2019 Family and friends gather at St Patricks Church in Dungannon to pay respects to teenager Morgan Barnard who sadly passed away in a tragic accident on St Patricks day Mandatory Credit :Stephen Hamilton
The funeral cortege arriving at St Patrick's Church, Dungannon for the funeral of Morgan Barnard. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday March 22, 2019. Teenagers Lauren Bullock, Connor Currie and Morgan Barnard died after a crush at the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown, Co Tyrone, on Sunday. See PA story ULSTER Cookstown. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
22nd March 2019 Family and friends gather at St Patricks Church in Dungannon to pay respects to teenager Morgan Barnard who sadly passed away in a tragic accident on St Patricks day Mandatory Credit :Stephen Hamilton
22nd March 2019 Family and friends gather at St Patricks Church in Dungannon to pay respects to teenager Morgan Barnard who sadly passed away in a tragic accident on St Patricks day Mandatory Credit :Stephen Hamilton
Mourners gather for funeral of Morgan Barnard.
22nd March 2019 Family and friends gather at St Patricks Church in Dungannon to pay respects to teenager Morgan Barnard who sadly passed away in a tragic accident on St Patricks day Mandatory Credit :Stephen Hamilton
22nd March 2019 Family and friends gather at St Patricks Church in Dungannon to pay respects to teenager Morgan Barnard who sadly passed away in a tragic accident on St Patricks day Mandatory Credit :Stephen Hamilton
22nd March 2019 Family and friends gather at St Patricks Church in Dungannon to pay respects to teenager Morgan Barnard who sadly passed away in a tragic accident on St Patricks day Mandatory Credit :Stephen Hamilton
22nd March 2019 Family and friends gather at St Patricks Church in Dungannon to pay respects to teenager Morgan Barnard who sadly passed away in a tragic accident on St Patricks day Mandatory Credit :Stephen Hamilton
22nd March 2019 Family and friends gather at St Patricks Church in Dungannon to pay respects to teenager Morgan Barnard who sadly passed away in a tragic accident on St Patricks day Mandatory Credit :Stephen Hamilton
Morgan Barnard, 17, was one of three teenagers killed in a crush outside a St Patrick’s Day party (St. Patrick’s Academy Dungannon/PA)

George Hamilton said the initial officers were "brave", which "deeply upset" Morgan Barnard's family.

“Not only do we seek a retraction of the comments, but it is also imperative that an independent investigation is conducted so as to ensure that the truth about the events at Cookstown is known to the public," his father James Bradley told the Irish News.

Following his meeting with Morgan's parents, the Chief Constable issued a statement apologising for any distress he caused.

“This afternoon I met with James and Maria, the parents of Morgan Barnard, to offer my sincere condolences on the loss of their son who tragically died at the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown on St Patrick’s Day," he said.

“I expressed my deep regret if any comment that I have made in relation to the incident has caused the family any further distress. That was never my intention and I have apologised.  

"No public commentary by me or any police officer will detract from the independent investigation being conducted into the initial PSNI response by the Police Ombudsman’s office.

“The investigation into the circumstances that led to the deaths of Morgan Barnard, Lauren Bullock and Connor Currie continues and we are very grateful to all the witnesses who have come forward with information.”

Floral tributes outside the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown
Floral tributes outside the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown

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