Northern Ireland

Cookstown disco crush: George Hamilton 'sorry' for 'brave' comment

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionGeorge Hamilton apologises for Cookstown disco crush comment

Northern Ireland's police chief has apologised for describing officers' actions on the night of the Greenvale Hotel crush as "brave".

George Hamilton met the family of Morgan Barnard, 17, who died in the tragedy in Cookstown, County Tyrone.

"No public commentary by me or any police officer will detract from the independent investigation," he said.

In April, he said officers were brave but there were "questions to answer" as they held back to await support.

Lauren Bullock, 17, and Connor Currie, 16, also died on the night in March.

Morgan Barnard's family said it had found the chief constable's comments extremely hurtful, and had asked for the private meeting.

The deaths happened as hundreds of young people were queuing to get into a St Patrick's Day disco.

An investigation by the Police Ombudsman into the initial police response to the incident is being carried out.

It was previously revealed that the first officers who arrived at the scene of the tragedy withdrew to await support.

Image copyright Euphoria Allstar Cheerleading/Family/Edendork GAC
Image caption Lauren Bullock, 17, Morgan Barnard, 17, and 16-year-old Connor Currie, died after the incident at the hotel on 17 March

"I expressed my deep regret if any comment that I have made in relation to the incident has caused the family any further distress," said Mr Hamilton.

"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."

More on this story