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Body of woman discovered in derelict house identified

The body of a woman found by workmen in a derelict south Belfast house has been identified as that of 37-year-old Julie Ann Watson.

Her last known address was in the Village area of the Donegall Road where the remains were found seven weeks ago.

A police spokesperson revealed the name yesterday 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.

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It is believed the council contacted the Housing Executive in March asking it to help clear and secure the property.

It was then that Ms Watson's body was discovered by a Red Sky property maintenance worker.

Billy Dickson, chairman of the Blackstaff Community Development Association, said 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, originally 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.

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