Ombudsman to probe Greenvale Hotel PSNI officers

The Police Ombudsman has confirmed it is investigating five PSNI officers who responded to the Greenvale Hotel tragedy that claimed the lives of three teens.

Tuesday, 2nd July 2019, 6:55 pm
Three teenagers died after reports of a crush at a St Patrick's Day party at Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Lauren Bullock, 17, Morgan Barnard, 17, and Connor Currie, 16, died after a major crush in the queue to get into a St Patrick’s night party in the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown earlier this year.

Deputy Chief Constable Stephen Martin said today that the Police Ombudsman was investigating the officers involved.

“PSNI can confirm that it has been informed by the Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland, that it is considering whether five police officers who were involved in the initial police response to the dreadful events at the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown on 17 March this year, have committed the offence of Misconduct in Public Office,” he said.

The Greenvale Hotel in the wake of the tragedy which cost the lives of three teenagers. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

“We have full confidence in the Office of the Police Ombudsman to complete a thorough and independent investigation and we will co-operate fully throughout it. Until this is complete it would be inappropriate to comment further.

“Our thoughts remain with the families of Morgan Barnard, Connor Currie and Lauren Bullock who tragically died at the event, and the police investigation into the circumstances surrounding their deaths continues.”

The PSNI advised that no officers have been suspended and that their “duty status” will be kept under “constant review”.

Decisions as to whether an officer is required to be suspended are guided by the Police (Conduct) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2016, police said. This places an obligation upon the service to keep the duty status of an officer under review, to ensure decisions are lawful and proportionate, the PSNI said.

Last month there were media reports that police waited 16 minutes to act after arriving and that they were warned of issues hours beforehand. However the Police Federation for Northern Ireland (PFNI) defended the officers, noting that they had even driven an ambulance to help the casualties.

The PFNI tweeted in defence of the officers: “Confident our PSNI members will be vindicated. They acted with in good faith in what was the most tragic of incidents to arrive at. We will continue to support them through what has been a horrendous experience for all involved.”