Belfast Telegraph

Greenvale Hotel owner undergoing further police questioning over teenager deaths

Morgan Barnard, Lauren Bullock and Connor Currie.
Morgan Barnard, Lauren Bullock and Connor Currie.
Gareth Cross

By Gareth Cross

Greenvale Hotel owner Michael McElhatton is undergoing further police questioning in connection with the deaths of three teenagers at his premises on St Patrick's Day.

Morgan Barnard (17), Lauren Bullock (17) and Connor Currie (16) were crushed to death while queuing to enter the Cookstown venue for a disco.

More than 600 people had gathered outside the hotel before the crush.

Police said they have been granted a 36-hour extension to interview a 52-year-old man in connection with the deaths.

The BBC has reported that Mr McElhatton appeared at Dunnganon Magistrates Court on Wednesday as police asked for the extension.

A spokesperson for Mr McElhatton confirmed that he is currently being interviewed in Dungannon Police Station.

The spokesperson said that there had been a pause in questioning earlier in the investigation after Mr McElhatton had been wrongly suspected of possession of drugs.

"Mr McElhatton was aware that he was due to be questioned again and it was in the diary," the spokesperson said.

Mr McElhatton and another man were initially arrested on suspicion of manslaughter in connection with the teenagers' deaths and later released pending further investigation.

Police and Mid Ulster District Council are carrying out separate investigations into the crush at the hotel. 

The Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown, Co Tyrone (Liam McBurney/PA)
The Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown, Co Tyrone (Liam McBurney/PA)

The Police Ombudsman is also investigating the initial police response.

Police have said that the first responders to the scene at the Co Tyrone hotel withdrew to wait for support from colleagues.

Last week a planning application was submitted to demolish the hotel and replace it with properties and garages.

The building itself remains a key piece of evidence into the police investigation into the deaths.

Mr McElhatton said their will be no changes to the hotel for at least the next four years.

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