Homeless volunteers traumatised after fifth Belfast death

Floral tributes left at the scene where Catherine Kennys body was found on Saturday morning

Floral tributes left at the scene where Catherine Kennys body was found on Saturday morning

Volunteers who work with the homeless in Belfast have spoken of their personal trauma after the death of a woman in her 30s in the city centre.

The woman, named as Catherine Kenny who was originally from Downpatrick in Co Down, was found dead in a shop doorway at the corner of Donegall Place and Castle Lane on Saturday morning.

A man tends the floral tributes to Catherine Kenny in Belfast city centre

A man tends the floral tributes to Catherine Kenny in Belfast city centre

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.

Donna Connor from Hope Outreach for the Homeless in Belfast said she has spoken to the woman’s family. She declined to comment on why the woman had not opted for a shelter.

“I knew her, she was the first person I met when I started with Hope Outreach for the Homeless one year ago,” she said.

“We formed a really close relationship with her. It is like losing a daughter.”

Mrs Connor said the number of homeless deaths “have really hit home”.

“It has had a big impact on all of us, but it is something we have to come to terms with.”

According to the BBC the woman was found by a passerby who knew her.

James Edwards said: “I walked past her and I noticed her sleeping bag wasn’t wrapped around her.”

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 February 24.