COMMUNITIES across Tyrone and further afield are still struggling to come to terms with the tragic loss of three teenagers in a reported ‘crushing’ incident at a popular entertainment venue in Cookstown on St Patrick’s night where a disco was being held.
The tragedy at the Greenvale Hotel on the Omagh Road on the outskirts of the town claimed the lives of Lauren Bullock (17), from Donaghmore, Morgan Barnard (17) from Dungannon and Connor Currie (16) from Edendork.
The PSNI’s Major Investigation Team (MIT) have since been appointed to investigate the deaths at the venue which regularly attracted young people from Omagh, as well as other areas of West Tyrone, to its entertainment events.
Speaking yesterday morning (Tuesday), District Chief Superintendent Raymond Murray told a press briefing in Dungannon that officers had already spoken to 160 witnesses that were at the hotel on Sunday night. CCTV has revealed that an estimated 400 people were in the car park at the time the fatal incident occurred.
Officers have appealed to anyone who was in the vicinity to come forward and help them get a complete picture of what happened.
The shock of the extent of the tragedy has plunged the whole county and beyond into mourning, with people uniting to extend their sympathy to the bereaved families. Messages of suppoprt have also poured in for those traumatised by what occurred on what should should have a joyous night out – but ended in one of immense sorrow.
Yesterday morning, books of condolence were opened by the chairman of Mid Ulster District Council, Sean McPeake, in the Burnavon, Cookstown, Ranfurly House, Dungannon and the Bridewell, Magherafelt. Another book of condolence was also opened in Belfast City Hall yesterday.
The ill-fated incident unfolded shortly before 9.30pm on Sunday night. The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service received a 999 call with reports of people injured outside the hotel. It was declared a major incident and police, fire service and environmental health and other senior council officers attended the scene.
Police arrived within two minutes of the call from the Ambulance Service and quickly secured the scene.
Full story in this week's Tyrone Constitution...