Hotel owner arrested over drugs after three teenagers die outside disco

A hotel owner has been arrested on suspicion of possession of Class A drugs with intent to supply after three teenagers died outside a St Patrick’s Day disco.

Michael McElhatton, 52, owns the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown in Co Tyrone.

He was detained on Tuesday in relation to manslaughter.

The youngsters died after a crush at the premises on Sunday evening which eyewitnesses described as chaotic.

A Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) statement said: “Detectives from PSNI’s major investigation team investigating the deaths of three teenagers at the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown on Saint Patrick’s Day conducted a search at a house in Moneymore yesterday and seized a quantity of suspected Class A drugs.

“A 52-year-old man who was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter has been further arrested on suspicion of possession of a Class A drug with intent to supply.”

Cookstown incident
Michael McElhatton (Liam McBurney/PA)

Students Lauren Bullock, 17, Connor Currie, 16, and Morgan Barnard, 17, all from nearby Dungannon in Co Tyrone, died.

Another suspect arrested on Tuesday over suspected manslaughter, aged 40, is a member of the popular nightspot’s door staff.

Hundreds of mourners have left written and floral tributes to the three teenagers.

On Wednesday DUP leader Arlene Foster signed a book of condolence in Cookstown.

She said: “I cannot begin to comprehend the pain and anguish the families of Lauren, Connor and Morgan are going through at this time.

“As a mother of two teenagers this is the news no parent should ever receive, particularly as young people go out for an evening of enjoyment.”

Cookstown incident
A mass booklet from a memorial service in memory of Lauren Bullock (Liam McBurney/PA)

She added: “The tragic loss of life has been felt across the entire area of Cookstown, Dungannon and beyond.

“There are many homes in Northern Ireland who have been devastated by tragedy over the bank holiday weekend.”

Up to 400 people were present as the tragedy unfolded, and detectives said it was fortunate more were not killed.

Police confirmed some were trampled underfoot as they waited to enter the disco.

Buses let youngsters off outside before the disaster happened.

Counselling services are being provided to those affected and prayer services have been held.

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