Belfast Telegraph

Man's body recovered after fire at farmhouse in Co Down

By Michael McHugh

Police searching for an elderly farmer feared dead in a house fire in Co Down have found a body.

Specialist surveyors had examined the property at Ballynafern Road, Annaclone, which was destroyed in the blaze on Saturday morning.

Efforts to find 82-year-old George Mathers were suspended at the weekend amid concerns about the safety of the building.

Part of the first floor of the farmhouse collapsed, making it dangerous for emergency services to enter.

PSNI inspector Nigel Graham said: "Police can confirm that the body of a man has been recovered from the property."

He added: "The cause of the fire is still being investigated but is not believed to be suspicious at this time.

"Our thoughts are with the family at this most difficult time."

Independent unionist MLA John McCallister knew Mr Mathers. "He was an old school farmer, he worked hard, and there were no back doors," he said.

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