Northern Ireland

Belfast city centre: Homeless man found dead 'loveable rogue'

Homeless Image copyright Thinstock
Image caption Donna Connor said the problem of homelessness was getting worse in Belfast

A homeless man found dead in the doorway of a disused shop in Belfast city centre has been described as "a loveable rogue".

The man, in his 30s, regularly slept in the doorway in Donegall Place where he was found dead on Saturday evening.

Donna Connor, from the charity Hope Outreach For The Homeless, said they looked after him on a nightly basis.

"He was a loveable rogue and we treated him as we would treat our own sons," she said.

"It's horrendous to think that this has happened, that he died where he sleeps on a nightly basis.

"Even this morning coming in, it was hard to go past the spot without being upset."

She said the last time she saw the man was on Friday night.

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Media captionDonna Connor said the man would still be alive if he was not lying in a doorway each night

"I hadn't seen him for a few nights and I asked where he was - he'd been in hospital - and he asked me for a hug and that was something that he'd never done before," she said.

"I told him I loved him."

Police have said the man's death is not being treated as suspicious.

Ms Connor said the problem of homelessness was getting worse in Belfast.

She said there would be 27 regular rough sleepers in the city centre at the minute, though the figure tends to drop during particularly bad weather.

'Paycheque away from losing everything'

Their ages range from 17 to the late 50s and they are both male and female, she added.

"There's a range of issues and reasons as to why they're there, ranging from relationship breakdowns, be it parent-child, husband-wife; there's a lot of mental health issues as well, job losses," Ms Connor added.

"There's no one specific reason as to why these people are where they are - they certainly don't choose to be there.

"The saying is 'everybody's just a paycheque away from losing everything'."

She gave this advice to people walking by someone who is homeless: "Just give them a smile - it's not a lot and it costs nothing."

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