Cookstown hotel disco crush: Tributes paid to victims

Cookstown hotel disco crush: Tributes paid to victims

Lauren Bullock, Morgan Barnard and Connor Currie

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Euphoria Allstar Cheerleading/Family/Edendork GAC

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Lauren Bullock, 17, Morgan Barnard, 17, and 16-year-old Connor Currie died in the incident

Tributes have been paid to three teenagers who died after a crush as they queued for a St Patrick's Day party at a hotel in County Tyrone.

Lauren Bullock, 17, Morgan Barnard, 17, and 16-year-old Connor Currie, died after the incident outside the Greenvale Hotel, Cookstown, on Sunday.

Books of condolence are expected to be opened for the victims on Tuesday.

Lauren was described as an "incredible friend", while Connor was "much loved and highly thought of".

A relative of Morgan's said he was "just a bundle of joy".

Lauren's friend, Cora McKay, told BBC News NI that she was the "most bubbly person you'd ever meet".

"You were just met with her smile," she said.

"It was just such a unique smile and she was just an incredible friend."

She added that Lauren was wearing a green football jersey she had borrowed from her when she died.

'Loyal presence'

The police said a large group of young people had been waiting to get into the disco at about 21:30 GMT.

Security camera footage is being examined and police have appealed for videos captured by those present.

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Media captionMy daughter called and said "a boy has died" – Mary Coyle

Catherine McHugh, principal at St Patrick's College in Dungannon, where Lauren was a pupil, described her as a "leader among her peers and a quiet, strong and loyal presence".

"A treasured friend and capable young lady with a bright future," she added.

In a Facebook post, Edendork Gaelic Athletic Association football club said it was devastated by the death of "much loved and highly thought of" player and member Connor.

"Connor will forever be remembered with the greatest affection by all associated with our club and indeed the wider Edendork community."

A relative of Morgan's said he was "just a bundle of joy, always bouncing around, he seemed to have a lot of energy in him – a gentleman, he was."

Fintan Donnelly, the principal of St Patrick's Academy in Dungannon, where the two boys were pupils, said the tragedy had "had a huge impact on the whole school community".

Books of condolence will be opened in Cookstown, Dungannon and Magherafelt on Tuesday morning.

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Police have asked people who were at the event not to post footage online

On Monday, prayer services were held at the two neighbouring schools and at the Edendork club.

Fr Kevin Donaghy, parish priest of Dungannon, spent several hours with the pupils.

He said several hundred had attended, many with their parents, despite it being a bank holiday in Northern Ireland.

"They were just spending time together in mutual support – that seemed to be the most important thing to do at this time," he said.

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Flowers were left outside the Greenvale Hotel on Monday

Eyewitness Eimear Tallon recalled the horror in a Facebook post on Monday.

"No matter how much we screamed and pushed back, there was no movement," she said.

"Two of my friends fell to the ground. I tried to pull them up but at that point there was no room for them to even come back up.

"With more and more pushing, I also fell.

"But the thing about me was that I wasn't on the ground, I was on top of someone, and this person was on top of someone else."

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Hotel owner Michael McElhatton spoke to the media on Monday afternoon

Police Service of Northern Ireland Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said: "Our preliminary investigations show there was a crush towards the front door of this hotel, and in that crush people seem to have fallen."

Greenvale Hotel owner Michael McElhatton said he was "deeply shocked and saddened by the traumatic events".

Police have asked people who were at the event and who have video and photographs not to publish them online but to upload them to the Major Incident Public Portal.

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