Belfast Telegraph

Cookstown hotel death teen Lauren Bullock 'a beautiful soul' - tributes to Greenvale disco crush victim

Lauren Bullock
Lauren Bullock
The Greenvale Hotel, Cookstown on March 18th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
The scene of the incident in Cookstown, Co Tyrone (Liam McBurney/PA)
A floral tribute near the Greenvale Hotel (Liam McBurney/PA)

A teenager who died following reports of a crush outside a St Patrick's Day disco was a "beautiful soul", her cheerleading group has said.

Lauren Bullock, 17, was the "backbone" of the team, Euphoria Allstar Cheerleading NI said.

Two boys aged 16 and 17 also died outside the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown, Co Tyrone, on Sunday evening.

The cheerleading team said: "Euphoria are absolutely devastated to say we lost one of our senior athletes, Lauren  Bullock, in the tragedy in Cookstown last night.

"My heart is broken writing this. You were the most down to earth, beautiful soul and our Coral team will never be the same without you.

"You were an incredible cheerleader and were the backbone of our team."

Several hundred people were trying to get into the venue after being dropped off by buses.

A 17-year-old girl and two boys aged 16 and 17 died, one at the scene and two later in hospital, police confirmed.

A 16-year-old girl is in a stable condition in hospital, while a further two teenagers were treated for injuries they suffered during the incident.

People struggled to get off the ground and there was confusion in the immediate aftermath between 9pm and 10pm on Sunday, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) added.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said: "It is a truly awful incident, heart-wrenching for everybody, particularly the families."

Efforts to resuscitate were made by emergency crews at the scene.

The senior officer added: "Everybody did their best for them last night but it is a truly appalling incident."

He added: "Unfortunately three are dead, the last person died this morning unfortunately with his parents near him."

One of the deceased died at Antrim Area Hospital, the other at Craigavon Area Hospital in Co Armagh.

The nightlife venue in Mid Ulster can take up to 500 people.

Mr Hamilton said preliminary investigations show there was a crush towards the front door of the hotel, and in that crush people seem to have fallen.

Security camera footage is being examined and police have appealed for videos captured by those present.

The senior officer added: "We are examining now to see if the people who have fallen are those who are deceased.

"There seemed to be a little bit of struggling going on to get people up off the ground and that might explain also why there was a report of some fighting."

A social media user said she fell while in the crowd, recalling a "traumatic and stressful" experience.

She saw paramedics trying to resuscitate a young boy.

Police at entrance of the Greenvale Hotel, in Cookstown, Co Tyrone, in Northern Ireland where three people have died
Police at entrance of the Greenvale Hotel, in Cookstown, Co Tyrone, in Northern Ireland where three people have died
The Greenvale Hotel, in Cookstown, Co Tyrone, in Northern Ireland where three people have died
Police at entrance of the Greenvale Hotel, in Cookstown, Co Tyrone, in Northern Ireland where three people have died

Six emergency ambulances and two rapid response vehicles responded shortly after 9pm on Sunday.

Four emergency doctors were deployed along with ambulance officers.

Northern Ireland Ambulance Service medical director Dr Nigel Ruddell said everything pointed towards it being a tragic accident.

He said initial reports were confused.

A major incident was called.

Police made a direct appeal for people with footage of the incident to hand it to police, rather than post it on social media.

Mr Hamilton added: "We are of an open mind... it looks like a crowd of young people, a large crowd, pushing up against the front of the hotel to get in to this event.

"People then seem to have fallen and then got crushed. I would urge you to use that with some caution.

"Certainly it appears to be at the minute a crush, people have fallen and then been fatally injured.

"We are continuing to interview people who were there to establish the full facts and I would appeal to anyone who witnessed what happened to contact police on 101 ext 52014.

"We need parents to talk to their children this morning and encourage them to come and tell us what happened. Please do not post photographs or videos online. Please share them with the PSNI."

He added: "We need people to come forward and tell us what happened last night. Three young people are dead, they deserve a full inquiry. Their parents need to know what happened to them."

Police posted on Twitter shortly after the incident, urging parents to pick up their children from the venue in Drum Road.

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