THE family of a young Coleraine man who died in a disused hotel in Portstewart claim that he would still be alive if he hadn’t been put out the back door of a nightclub.
20-year-old Christopher Connor’s sister Laura also condemned the owners of the derelict hotel where her brother’s body was found.
She said that the hotel should have been boarded up to prevent just such an accident happening.
Christopher disappeared after a night out on Saturday, December 17th last year.
Two days later, his body was discovered by his cousin Simon Creighton in the derelict Monatgu Hotel, near the Havana nightclub from where Christopher had been ejected.
Laura Connor said that her brother had been put out of Havana’s back door by a bouncer after being found sleeping in the club.
“There is a Council code of practice which says that the fire exit should only be used in an emergency. Christopher was lying sleeping in the club, not causing bother, not fighting with anyone. In that case, the bouncers should have either taken him out and put him in a taxi or, if he wasn’t responding, kept him in the building and called the police.
“Instead he was put out the back door of the club, without his coat.
“I think he was probably disorientated, had just woken up, didn’t know where he was and thought he was trying to get back into Havana, instead he ended up going into that old hotel.”
Christopher’s cousin Simon Creighton told how he discovered a body two days later in the derelict hotel.
“I was going in through the building. The building was in that bad a state, the floor was giving way and I had to go in and check every room.
“I got to the end and heard this phone ringing. For a second, I didn’t realise it was his, I actually thought it was my phone.
“That’s when it dawned on me that it was him lying there.”
Laura told the Times that her family is angry that the nearby hotel was left in such a dangerous state.
“The next day a board was put up and when they were asked about it, all Coleraine Council would say was to make some statement about painting.
“All they are worried about is painting buildings for some big golf tournament.”
Laura says her family now face the prospect of trying to carry on with their lives without Christopher, who would have turned 21 this Easter Monday.
“We can’t do anything until they hold Christopher’s inquest but we won’t let this go.
“In my view, as his sister, if he had been put out the front door, he would still be here today.”
A spokeswoman for Coleraine Borough Council said the hotel, which was privately owned, is now in the hands of administrators.
“Work to paint and clean up the front of the building has been complete and the Council is addressing similar buildings in the area,” she added.