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Cookstown hotel owner Michael McElhatton says police have "blackened my name"

Belfast Live logo Belfast Live 20/03/2019 Maurice Fitzmaurice
a man posing for a picture: Michael McElhatton © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Michael McElhatton

The owner of the Greenvale Hotel has accused police of having “blackened my name”.

Michael McElhatton spoke out after he was arrested, then ‘de-arrested’, for drugs offences.

In a bizarre turn of events the 52-year-old, arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of manslaughter, was “further arrested on suspicion of possession of a Class A drug with intent to supply”, according to a police statement issued at 3.51pm.

But in a statement issued at 6pm, police said they had “de-arrested a 52 year old man, who was arrested earlier today on suspicion of possession of a Class A drug with intent to supply”.

They added: “This follows fast track forensic examination of a suspicious package consisting of a white-powder substance and tin foil, found during a search of a house in Moneymore. 

“The 52 year old and the 40 year old man remain in custody on suspicion of manslaughter.”

Later on Wednesday night, Michael McElhatton, 52, issued a statement in which he said: “I have nothing whatsoever to do with drugs.”

Mr McElhatton added: “While I wished to respect the ongoing investigation by the police into the tragic deaths of the three young people at the Greenvale Hotel on St Patrick’s night, I have no choice but to make it completely clear that I have nothing whatsoever to do with drugs.

“I can assure everyone that whatever any 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.”

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