Northern Ireland

Belfast city centre: Death of homeless woman 'a tragedy'

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Media captionThe victim was found dead by a passer-by in this shop doorway in Belfast

The sudden death of a homeless woman in her 30s in Belfast city centre has been described as a "tragedy" by a charity that had tried to help her.

She was found dead in a shop doorway at the corner of Donegall Place and Castle Lane on Saturday morning.

Police cordoned off the scene and are investigating the cause of her death but said a crime is not suspected.

She is the fifth person to die in Belfast this year who had been receiving help from homeless charities.

Image caption Police are investigating her exact cause of death but said a crime is not suspected

The Extern charity said it had worked with the woman and had offered her emergency accommodation.

Danny McQuillan, a direct with Extern, said it was a "complete tragedy that once again another homeless person has died on our streets".

"Nobody should be living and certainly nobody should be dying on our streets in 2016."

Image caption Tributes have been left to the woman in Belfast city centre

The woman, whose name has not been released, was found by a passerby who knew her.

James Edwards told BBC Newsline: "I walked past her and I noticed her sleeping bag wasn't wrapped around her."

Image caption James Edwards, who knew the victim, found her body in a shop doorway

He noticed that something was wrong when he tried to cover her with the sleeping bag, and the emergency services were called to the scene.

"She was a really, really nice girl and she didn't have a bad bone in her body," Mr Edwards said.

"It's just an awful shame - this girl could have had help."

Last month, the Lord Mayor of Belfast held an emergency meeting of agencies that work with the homeless following the death of a man in a shop doorway in High Street on 24 February.

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