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CCTV shows up to 400 people were present for Tyrone nightclub tragedy

Counselling has been offered to friends and classmates of Lauren Bullock, Connor Currie and Morgan Barnard.

Lauren, Connor (top right) and Morgan (bottom right) died in the crush at the St Patrick's Day disco on Sunday.
Lauren, Connor (top right) and Morgan (bottom right) died in the crush at the St Patrick's Day disco on Sunday.
Image: Euphoria Allstar Chearleading/Edendork Gac/Facebook

Updated Mar 19th 2019, 11:58 AM

THE PSNI HAS said there are a “significant number” of people who were present at the hotel where three teenagers died in a crush ahead of a St Patrick’s Day disco, and urged parents to encourage their children to come forward to help police find answers.

17-year-old Lauren Bullock, 16-year-old Connor Currie and 17-year-old Morgan Barnard have been named as the three young people who lost their lives in the incident outside the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown, Tyrone on Sunday night. 

At a press conference this afternoon, detective chief superintendent Raymond Murray – who heads up the Serious Crime Branch – said: “Over a day into our investigation I can tell you we have already traced the identities of over 160 witnesses and have already spoken to a number of young people who were in the queue at the Greenvale Hotel on Sunday night.”

However, he said that initial CCTV footage has indicated there was as many as 400 people were in the queue or car park at the time the incident took place.

Murray said that some parents had indicated they are concerned their children – many of whom were underage – were trying to enter a licenced premises.

“I want to reassure you, the focus of our investigation is not the age of people who were at the event – it is about trying to find answers for the families of the three teenagers who tragically died – we need to know what you saw so the heartbroken families of Connor, Lauren and Morgan know what happened to their children,” Murray said. 

Talk to your children, reassure them – we know they may be scared – but again I can assure you we are only interested in establishing what happened. Their account of events on Sunday night could be crucial to establishing how Connor, Lauren and Morgan died.

Tributes

A number of different groups paid tribute to the teens who died on Sunday. 

Euphoria Allstar Chearleading group said everyone who knew Lauren, one of their senior athletes, was devastated by the news.

Her coach wrote on the group’s Facebook page:

“My heart is broke writing this. You where the most down to earth, beautiful soul and our Coral team will never be the same without you. You where an incredible cheerleader and were the backbone of our team.

I honestly can’t put into words how much you will be missed. Thank you Lauren for giving me the pleasure of coaching you all this time. We love you Lauren, your now shining over us all. We will never forget you. The brightest purple star in the sky.

Connor Currie’s GAA club, Edendork Gac, said the club and community are “deeply saddened”. They described him as a “much loved and highly thought of player”.

“Connor will forever be remembered with the greatest affection by all associated with our club and indeed the wider Edendork community.

“We are all in shock at Connor’s untimely passing, to lose a dear friend and team mate is one of the most difficult life experiences you will have to face.”

Connor and Morgan Barnard both attended the St Patrick’s Academy and the school yesterday held a prayer service and made counsellors available to support pupils.

“We pray for the happy repose of the souls of Connor, Morgan and Lauren and offer our deepest condolences to their families. We pray, also, for all in our school and in the wider community who have been affected by this terrible tragedy,” the school said.

President Michael D Higgins has also offered his condolences to the families affected by the tragedy.

“As President of Ireland may I express what I know is the shared grief of the people of Ireland at the terrible loss of life of young students in the tragedy that took place in Cookstown, County Tyrone on St Patrick’s Day,” he said.

“May I offer, in particular, my condolences to the families of the victims and to the pupils of the schools in Dungannon that I visited recently.”

Other young people who were caught up in the crush have already been sharing their experiences, with one yesterday describing the incident as “the most traumatic, frightening and stressful moment of my life”.

She and the two friends she went to the disco with escaped without injuries but she knew Morgan Barnard, one of the teens who was killed in the incident. 

She said everyone had gone there  for an enjoyable night, “but unlike the rest of us, they didn’t make it home”.

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