Belfast Telegraph

Greenvale Hotel tragedy police 'waited 16 minutes' to act - report

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

Police responding to the Greenvale Hotel tragedy waited 16 minutes before intervening, it has been claimed.

The Irish News reports of the timeline of events around the tragedy which resulted in the deaths of teenagers Morgan Barnard, Lauren Bullock both 17 and 16-year-old Connor Currie in the queue to get into the St Patrick's night disco.

Police have said around 600 people were in the queue at the Tyrone venue.

In the aftermath of the tragedy Chief Constable George Hamilton referred the 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.

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.

In Tuesday's Irish News it revealed a timeline of events on the night which had been relayed to the families of the teenagers in a series of meetings and compiled from CCTV of the incident.

It reveals four police officers responded in two cars and they waited 16 minutes before intervening. At first they sat in their vehicles in the car park before leaving and returning 11 minutes later to the scene.

It is also claimed police held discussions on the matter with hotel owner Michael McElhatton before they intervened.

The family of Morgan Barnard said the police have questions to answer asking if lives could have been saved.

Family solicitor Darragh Mackin said while it was every family's worst nightmare, it was "compounded by the questions raised.

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

"It is now imperative that a full and effective investigation us conducted into the events so the family can get to the truth."

In a statement to the Belfast Telegraph, the PSNI said: "The investigation into the actions of police at the Greenvale Hotel, Cookstown, on March 17, 2019, is being undertaken by the Office of the Police Ombudsman and therefore it would be inappropriate to comment further on the Greenvale incident at this time."

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