Greenvale Hotel tragedy: Police Federation calls for public inquiry after file on five PSNI officers sent to PPS

The Chair of the Police Federation for Northern Ireland Mark Lindsay has said he supports calls for a public enquiry into the causes of and responses to the Cookstown Greenvale Hotel tragedy in 2019 in which three teenagers died.

By Philip Bradfield
Thursday, 10th March 2022, 1:17 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th March 2022, 2:22 pm

His call came after the Police Ombudsman completed an investigation into officer conduct and a fatal crush in a queue outside a disco.

The investigation was launched when it emerged the first officers who arrived at the scene withdrew to await support.

A file of evidence on five officers has been sent to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) for consideration.

Connor Currie, 16; Lauren Bullock, 17 and Morgan Barnard, 17 all died in the tragedy.

Lauren Bullock, 17, Morgan Barnard, 17, and Connor Currie, 16, died as hundreds pressed to get into the disco at Cookstown’s Greenvale Hotel on 17 March - St Patrick’s Day, almost three years ago.

Mr Lindsay said: “The tragedy at the Greenvale Hotel on St Patrick’s Day 2019 has posed many questions in respect of the manner in which emergency services respond to such incidents.“The deaths of three young people on a night out is one which will resonate throughout society for many years to come and my thoughts are with their families as we approach the third anniversary of this incident.

“I have no doubt whatsoever that my colleagues who attended this shocking and tragic incident did their best in what were unique and challenging circumstances. They responded in a timely manner to a scene that was no doubt filled with confusion, which no emergency services encountered here before.“Like many others involved in this investigation,

“I am frustrated at the length of time this investigation has taken, which has only added to the distress of everyone involved. I agree with the families of the young victims that there should be an enquiry into the causes and responses to the incident, which examines the roles of the various agencies involved and that of the event organisers. The sooner this happens, the more comfort it will bring to all those affected by this terrible tragedy.”

It was previously reported that the ombudsman probe would includes four officers who went to the Greenvale Hotel and another who dealt with call handling on the night.

A PPS spokeswoman confirmed the PPS received an investigation file from police on 3 February 2021 in relation to the incident.

“All the available evidence in this large and complex file is being carefully considered by the prosecution team. We are continuing to liaise with police on this complex matter,” she said. “While we are not yet in a position to take decisions, significant progress has been made since receiving the file.”

Eleven individuals have been reported by police as potential suspects, she added.

She also confirmed the PPS received a file on 9 March 2022 from the Police Ombudsman in relation to the conduct of a number of police officers.

“Decisions as to prosecution will issue in due course after a careful consideration of all the available evidence and information in the file,” she said.

A separate PSNI investigation questioned a range of people, including the hotel owner, Michael McElhatton.

On Thursday, the PSNI said it had taken more than 1,300 witness statements and specially-trained officers had interviewed more than 140 young people.

“In total, 11 individuals have been interviewed by police in connection with a range of criminal offences and we await the response of the Public Prosecution Service,” Det Supt Eamonn Corrigan told the BBC.

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