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PSNI refers its handling of Tyrone disco crush to Ombudsman

The PSNI has said the first officers at the scene “withdrew to await further police support”.

Students from Holy Trinity College leave floral tributes outside The Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown
Students from Holy Trinity College leave floral tributes outside The Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown
Image: Liam McBurney/PA Images

THE PSNI HAS said that the first police officers on the scene where three teenagers died following a crush on St Patrick’s Day in Cookstown “withdrew to await further police support”. 

Further investigation is now needed on the timing and nature of police actions during this period, the PSNI said this afternoon in a statement.

Deputy Chief Constable Stephen Martin said: “The Chief Constable has therefore decided that the initial police response should be subject to independent scrutiny and it is in the public interest to refer the circumstances and the nature of the actions of the first officers arriving at the scene to the Police Ombudsman.”

Lauren Bullock (17), Morgan Barnard (17) and Connor Currie (16) were killed in the apparent crush outside a disco at the Greenvale Hotel in Co Tyrone.

A number of other teenagers were also injured in the incident. Police have issued a number of appeals for anyone who was there that night to come forward as they attempt to provide answers as to what happened that evening.

The alarm was raised for emergency services to attend the scene at around 9.30pm on Sunday 17 March. Martin said today that part of the police investigation has focused on the initial police response.

He said: “The first police officers arrived at the hotel grounds shortly after receiving the 999 report. 

Following their initial assessment they made attempts to establish more detail and information about what was happening and subsequently withdrew to await further police support. When the first ambulance arrived police moved forward in support of them.
The timing and nature of police actions during this period require further investigation to fully establish the facts.

With the matter now referred to the Police Ombudsman, Martin said that the confidence of the families and communities were at the forefront of this decision.

“We will work with the Ombudsman to support whatever action he undertakes and would ask that people do not speculate or prejudge the outcome of the Ombudsman’s investigation,” he added.

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Sean Murray

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