How St Patrick’s Day disco turned into crush hell that killed three teenagers

Hundreds of excited teenagers gathered at a disco for a night out to celebrate St Patrick's Day – but the evening ended in tragedy.

More than 400 young people queued outside the Greenvale Hotel in Co Tyrone, Northern Ireland, for what should have been a fun night out.

But instead three families were left devastated as their teenagers never returned home after becoming caught up in a terrifying 'crush'.

Morgan Barnard, 17, Lauren Bullock, also 17, and 16-year-old Connor Currie lost their lives in the tragic incident on Sunday night.

The venue is popular in the local area for weddings, Sunday carvery dinners and nights out.

Many have said nights out at the Greenvale are a "right of passage" for young people.


Young people arrived in buses throughout the evening with hundreds queuing to get inside the 500 capacity nightclub.

At around 9.30pm, with hundreds still left in the queue, there was a crush towards the front door of the hotel and people fell to the ground and were unable to get back up.

Six emergency ambulances and two rapid response vehicles along with four emergency doctors were deployed to the scene.

Eimear Tallon told how she couldn't breathe, was frightened, stressed and hysterically screaming as she became caught up in the crush.

She recalled how the 'stampede' began with pushing and shoving but soon ended with bodies piled on top of each other.


"People were scratching, biting and grabbing anything they could to pull themselves up to breathe," Eimear said.

"I think that’s what really shows the seriousness of it all, people were literally fighting for their lives."

Writing on Facebook , the 17-year-old said: "It started with pushing and shoving but everyone was still laughing and having a good time. Then the literal crushing started.

"The people on the outside of this line were so determined to get in they felt the need to not only push us against the wall but push with all their strength. No matter how much we screamed and pushed back, there was no movement."

She said two of her friends fell to the floor and there was no room for her to pull them back up.

Although she screamed to try and alert people, there was no movement, as some still hadn't realised what had happened.

Eimear said: "At this point I thought my friends were going to die, I was standing up and I couldn’t breathe so I couldn’t imagine how they felt.

"I was hysterically screaming for people to move but it was only the people around me who knew the seriousness."

"As I looked down I could see multiple bodies underneath me and as I looked up I could see multiple bodies on top of me.

"It was the most traumatic, frightening and stressful moment of my life."

She said at one point she closed her eyes and "accepted what was going to happen" but she soon opened them when she felt an elbow to her throat.

Eventually she was pulled out by another youngster as the teenagers tried to help each other.

Another described the "traumatising" moment he was pinned to the ground during the crush.

He said around 100 people 'rushed' forward and fell to the ground – leaving them trapped on top of each other for up to 20 minutes.

The teenager told the Ulster Herald : "There must have been 20 or 30 who fell first and then everyone followed. I'd say there were more than 100 who were in the queue that fell.

The teenager said the incident happened as "swaying" and "pushing" outside the venue.

"I was pinned down with others on top of me. We must have been on the ground for 20 minutes unable move. It was absolutely terrible.

"I didn't know what was going to happen or how I was going to get out. Eventually I was pulled out and thankfully was able to walk away."

He added that it was the "worst thing that had ever happened to him."

Teenagers were seen carrying out CPR on other youngsters as did the manager of the hotel.

An alert was sent by police asking parents to collect their children from the venue.

Emma Heatherington, whose two sons, aged 17 and 18, had been at the event, said she "felt sick" when she saw the police appeal.


"My two boys were there so I rang them, shaking and thankfully got them both," she said.

"They were on their way home at that stage.

"They say there was a huge crowd waiting to get into the venue and then a lot of commotion up near the front of the queue, then they said the emergency services arrived and they were all asked to leave.

"They came home very, very shaken with rumours that some people had died."

One 17-year-old died at the scene while two others later died in hospital.

A 16-year-old remains in hospital and is in a stable condition.

Tributes have been paid to Lauren, Connor and Morgan as the community tries to come to terms with its loss.

Lauren, 17, was a student at St Patrick's College in Dungannon and Principal Catherine McHugh described her as "a beautiful girl, a shining light in our school community".

"She gave generously of her time and talents. She was a leader among her peers and a quiet strong and loyal presence. A treasured friend and capable young lady with a bright future," she said.

"She was a role model for positivity, good relationships and kindness.  We have lost someone very dear to us and we will miss her greatly."

Edendork St Malachy's GAA club said they are "deeply saddened and devastated" at Connor's death.

A tribute on Facebook said: "As a club and community, we are deeply saddened and devastated to hear of the tragic passing of our much loved and highly thought of player and member Connor Currie.

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

Morgan's devastated father James Bradley said he and the teen's mother, Maria, are struggling to come to terms with the tragedy.

Maria is 17 weeks pregnant and James said "she has chosen not to believe it at the moment".

The disraught dad said Morgan had "a kind nature" and "was a gold pin of a lad who lit the room up".

"He was so thankful for the small things in life and would always say thank you," James added.

It also emerged that Morgan died on the anniversary of his uncle's murder.

Michael McElhatton, owner of the Greenvale Hotel said in a statement: “The management and staff are assisting the police with their investigations.

“And I would like to place on record our appreciation for the speedy response of the emergency services to last night’s terrible events.”

Detective Chief Superintendent Raymond Murray, Head of Serious Crime Branch, said at a press conference today that more young people could have died.

He praised those who helped others to get back on their feet, adding: "We are fortunate that we are looking at three deaths, we could absolutely have been looking at more".

Mr Murray also said that teenagers who are underage will not be prosecuted as part of the investigation.

He said their focus is on finding out exactly what happened on that tragic evening.

"I want to extend my heartfelt sympathies to the families of the three teenagers who so sadly lost their lives," he said.

It is difficult to appreciate the level of grief these families must be feeling as Sunday turned into their worst nightmare."

He said police have already spoken to 160 witnesses and appealed for more to come forward.

"Initial CCTV viewing would lead us to estimate that perhaps as many as 400 people were in the queue or car park at that time," he continued.

"The focus of our investigation is not the age of people who were at the event – it is about trying to find answers for the families of the three teenagers who tragically died – we need to know what you saw so the heartbroken families of Connor, Lauren and Morgan know what happened to their children.

I would urge parents to talk with your children, support them and encourage them to come forward and tell their story to police  so we can get an accurate picture of events that night."

Books of condolence have opened across Northern Ireland in memory of the three teenagers who died.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the families with funeral costs.

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