PSNI chief constable apologises over comment he made about Cookstown tragedy

George Hamilton meets parents of one of victims, Morgan Barnard

PSNI chief constable George Hamilton, said  he met with James and Maria, the parents of Morgan Barnard, one of three young people who died  in a crush outside a hotel in Cookstown, Co Tyrone. File photograph: Niall Carson/PA

PSNI chief constable George Hamilton, said he met with James and Maria, the parents of Morgan Barnard, one of three young people who died in a crush outside a hotel in Cookstown, Co Tyrone. File photograph: Niall Carson/PA

 

The PSNI chief constable George Hamilton has apologised for remarks he made in relation to the crush outside a hotel in Cookstown, Co Tyrone on St Patrick’s night that led to the deaths of three teenagers.

Lauren Bullock, 17, Morgan Barnard, 17, and 16-year-old Connor Currie died in the crush outside the Greenvale Hotel. It subsequently emerged that officers who answered a 999 call on the night initially sought to establish what had happened but then withdrew from the scene to await support.

Mr Hamilton said that the officers were “brave” but that there were “some questions to answer”, a comment that in particular upset the parents of Morgan Barnard.

Mr Hamilton, who is retiring at the end of June, said on Thursday afternoon he met with James and Maria, the parents of Morgan Barnard, “to offer my sincere condolences on the loss of their son who tragically died at the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown on St Patrick’s Day”.

“I expressed my deep regret if any comment that I have made in relation to the incident has caused the family any further distress. That was never my intention and I have apologised,” he said.

“No public commentary by me or any police officer will detract from the independent investigation being conducted into the initial PSNI response by the Police Ombudsman’s office,” he added.

“The investigation into the circumstances that led to the deaths of Morgan Barnard, Lauren Bullock and Connor Currie continues and we are very grateful to all the witnesses who have come forward with information,” said Mr Hamilton.