04/03/2020

'Complex Investigation' Ongoing Into Deaths Of Teenagers At Cookstown Hotel

Police Ombudsman investigators have met with the families of three teenagers who died in an incident in Cookstown on 17 March 2019, to update them on the progress of of their "complex investigation".

Lauren Bullock, Morgan Barnard, both 17, and Connor Currie, 16, died on 17 March 2019 during a crush outside the Greenvale Hotel, Cookstown. The three had been among hundreds of young people queueing for a Saint Patrick's night event at the hotel.

Police Ombudsman, Marie Anderson said: "My investigators have briefed the families of Lauren, Morgan and Connor on the broad range of enquiries that have been conducted through this complex investigation, which arose from a referral by the Chief Constable in relation to the police response to the incident.

"My investigation is examining not only the manner of the police response to emergency calls but also the broader context in which these deaths occurred."

Mrs Anderson said her investigators had progressed a substantial number of enquiries.
News Image
She continued: "These include the examination of data relating to the telephone calls made to police by people at the Greenvale Hotel on the night of the tragedy and the movements of police in the area.

"Police Body Worn Video footage has been reviewed, and we are also examining all relevant police documentation and recordings of police radio communications."

Mrs Anderson confirmed that a total of seven police officers have been interviewed by her investigators – five in relation to the potential criminal offence of Misconduct in Public Office, and two about possible breaches of police procedures.

Police Ombudsman investigators have already raised a number of policing practice matters with the PSNI to assist in preventing further such tragedies in Northern Ireland.

As is normal in such cases, at the conclusion of the Police Ombudsman's enquiries a file of evidence will be forwarded to the Public Prosecution Service for their consideration. In due course the Office will also be submitting a report to the Coroner's Office.

"All this takes time, but I have committed to continue to update the families and police officers involved about the process as our enquiries continue," Mrs Anderson concluded.

(MH/CM)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

14 May 2012
Seven Police Officers Disciplined Over Pensioner's Death
Seven police officers have been disciplined over an investigation into the death of Lisburn man Jim Heasley in October 2010. The 70-year-old was assaulted as he walked home from Lagan Valley Pigeon Club. An investigation by the Police Ombudsman found a series of failings in the initial police response.
23 June 2016
Police Officers Disciplined For Failing To Tell Doctor About Woman's Head Injuries
Two police officers have been disciplined after they failed to let their colleagues and a police doctor know that a woman had sustained a head injury, a Police Ombudsman investigation has concluded. The woman died from bleeding to the brain on 24 February 2014, the day after she suffered the injury.
04 September 2009
PSNI Cuts Uproar
An already financially beleaguered police service is facing fresh cutbacks. As a result, the Northern Ireland Policing Board is to challenge the Government over proposed £17m cuts in the police service budget. Members are expected to hold a crunch meeting with the NIO Security Minister, it has been announced.
02 April 2002
Trimble praises work of Northern Ireland Police Fund
Northern Ireland First Minister David Trimble has paid a visit to the offices of the Northern Ireland Police Fund which was set up to provide support for disabled police officers as well as for the families of murdered police officers.
31 August 2012
Four Men Arrested For Dissident Activity
Four men have been arrested in Newtownabbey on suspicion of dissident republican activity. PSNI officers detained the men on Thursday evening aged 30,35 and 46. They are being questioned in Antrim police station.