THE owner of the hotel where three teenagers tragically died at the weekend waiting to get into a disco has hit out at the PSNI for arresting him as a suspected Class drug dealer.
Michael McElhatton has released a statement this evening to accuse the PSNI of trying to “blacken his name” after he was re-arrested on suspicion of possessing Class A drugs with intent to supply.
The PSNI earlier today released a statement to say a 52-year-old man was arrested under the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act after a search of a house in Moneymore and suspected drugs were seized.
This evening, the PSNI made a hasty-about-turn and issued a statement to say he had been “de-arrested” for alleged drug dealing after a substance seized was tested by fast-track and found not be drugs.
Mr McElhatton, who owns the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown where Lauren Bullock, Morgan Barnard and Connor Curried died after being crushed to death on Sunday night, remains in custody on suspicion of causing their manslaughter.
In his statement, Mr McElhatton said tonight: “While I wish to respect the ongoing investigation into the tragic deaths of three young people at the Greenvale Hotel on St Patrick’s night, I have no choice but to make it clear that I have absolutely nothing to do with drugs.
“I can assure people that whatever suspicions the police have raised about me in relation to anything to do with drugs is totally without any basis.
“I am shocked and horrified that the powdery substance taken by police from the laundry in my house could be drugs.
“Despite there being no basis to these suspicions, they have blackened my name and caused so much upset for so many people, especially those who are grieving and distressed over the events at the Greenvale Hotel.”