Body discovered in house is identified
The body of a woman found by workmen in a derelict south Belfast house has been identified as 37-year-old Julie Ann Watson.
Her last known address was in the Village area of the Donegall Road which is where the remains were found seven weeks ago.
A police spokesperson revealed the name to the Community Telegraph yesterday (Wednesday) but said no further information would be forthcoming. Inquiries are continuing.
The investigation began on April 20 when the PSNI confirmed that remains discovered at a vacant property on Donegall Avenue were human.
Belfast City Council had issued a public health warning against the house in the month before the discovery of Ms Watson’s body after neighbours complained about a build-up of refuse at the rear of the building.
The house, which is surrounded by family homes, had been used by fly-tippers.
It is believed the council contacted the Housing Executive in March asking it to help clear and secure the property and that is when Ms Watson’s body was discovered by a Red Sky worker.
Billy Dickson, chairman of the Blackstaff Community Development Association, told the Community Telegraph he had spoken to a friend of the deceased woman who is still remembered by people in the area.
He said Ms Watson’s parents were separated and her family, who originate from Ballyclare, had lived in Lisburn and east Belfast.
Mr Dickson said he hoped there was no foul play involved as the discovery had brought back memories of the murder of Margaret Wright in a local band hall 17 years ago. Her body had been found in a derelict house nearby.
“This will be a tragedy for her family and her friends, but I hope we will still get the details because I think it is important to know how this happened,” he said.
“Incidents like this reopen things that have happened in the past.
“Until we hear exactly what the cause of death was there will be speculation.”
He said people would automatically begin rumours and hearsay especially as Ms Watson’s body was found after such a long time, in a vacant house.
Mr Dickson added: “I think it is important to get the details of why she died and how she died.
“There are people in the area like myself who are trying to reimage it, and it’s a good place to live, and there are good people in it and good things coming out of it, which is why things like this don’t help.
“So transparency from the police would do a lot to stop any speculation and establish the circumstances of this woman’s death.”