SEVEN people have now been interviewed ‘after caution’ by the PSNI as part of the investigation into the deaths of three teenagers at the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown on St Patrick’s night last year.
The Tyrone Herald can reveal that the seven were among around 1000 witnesses present at the venue – over 400 more than the last figures suggested – and that over 200 people have provided ‘written witness statements about what happened at the tragedy.
Morgan Barnard from Dungannon, Lauren Bullock from Donaghmore and Connor Currie from Edendork died in a crush while awaiting entry into a disco at the premises along with hundreds of others on March 17, 2019.
The seven attended their interviews voluntarily and the contents of the interviews and related investigations are also part of the file to the Public Prosecution Service. Two people, including the hotel owner, Michael McElhatton, had previously been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter.
The TyroneHerald can also reveal that in excess of 1000 witnesses have been identified within the investigation, which the PSNI says is one of the largest that they have ever undertaken.
A total of 148 people have been identified as potential ‘significent witnesses,’ details received by this newspaper under a Freedom of Information request can reveal.
“Analysing these interviews and identifying the relevant and significant evidence from them is a mjaor aspect of the ongoing work being done by the investigation,” the PSNI has said.
“Our best estimate at present is that approximately 800 young people were at the venue.
“This is an estimate because we are still working to positively account for a small number of people who are believed to have been present, although it is likely that some of these may be duplicates of those we have already identified and spoken to.
“From the point of view of witnesses, including those young people who were at the venue on St Patrick’s night, 148 people have been identified as ‘significant witnesses’ where it was deemed appropriate to carry out an in-depth interview on video.
“Analysing these interviews and identifying the relevant and significant evidence from them is a major aspect of the ongoing work being done by the investigation team.”
The PSNI declined to say whether any of the young people present that night would be facing prosecution in relation to trying to enter licensed premises at the Greenvale Hotel.
Instead, they said that their investigation continues to focus on trying to find answes for the families of the three teenagers who tragically died.
Last week, the PSNI confirmed that it has submitted an interim file to the PPS.