Belfast Telegraph

Criminal probe into Greenvale Hotel St Patrick's disco tragedy police response

Police outside the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown, Co. Tyrone in the aftermath of the tragedy. Pic: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Police outside the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown, Co. Tyrone in the aftermath of the tragedy. Pic: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Morgan Barnard, Lauren Bullock and Connor Currie.
The Greenvale Hotel
Jonathan Bell

By Jonathan Bell

The Police Ombudsman has opened a criminal investigation into the initial PSNI response to the Greenvale Hotel St Patrick's disco tragedy.

However, the five officers under investigation for suspected misconduct in public office have not been suspended from duty, although it's understood their status is under constant review.

Three teenagers, 17-year-olds Morgan Barnard and Lauren Bullock along with 16-year-old Connor Currie were killed as they waited in the queue of the disco in March.

Police estimated at one point there was as many as 600 people in the queue at the Tyrone venue.

In the aftermath of the tragedy the then Chief Constable George Hamilton referred the initial police response to the Police Ombudsman after it was revealed the first officers on the scene withdrew to await further support and only re-engaged when an ambulance crew arrived. It has been claimed it was 16 minutes before they engaged.

Mr Hamilton described those officers' actions as "brave". He later apologised for using the term saying he regretted the hurt caused to the families of those killed.

The family of Morgan Barnard have called for a "full and effective" investigation into the events of that tragic night.

Sinn Fein's Michelle O'Neill said the heartbroken families of the victims "are entitled to answers through a thorough and robust investigation".

Deputy Chief Constable Stephen Martin said: “PSNI can confirm that it has been informed by the Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland, that it is considering whether five police officers who were involved in the initial police response to the dreadful events at the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown on 17 March this year, have committed the offence of Misconduct in Public Office.

“We have full confidence in the Office of the Police Ombudsman to complete a thorough and independent investigation and we will co-operate fully throughout it.  Until this is complete it would be inappropriate to comment further.

Floral tributes outside the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown, Co Tyrone (Liam McBurney/PA)
Floral tributes outside the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown, Co Tyrone (Liam McBurney/PA)

“Our thoughts remain with the families of Morgan Barnard, Connor Currie and Lauren Bullock who tragically died at the event, and the police investigation into the circumstances surrounding their deaths continues.”

Police are investigating the events of the night separately and have interviewed the hotel owner.

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