Call to tackle isolation after woman's body found two years after death

A charity has called for "positive steps" to tackle isolation of the elderly after a woman was found in bed more than two years after she died.

A man has been charged with theft and preventing the burial of Marie Conlon's body.

The 23-year-old is also accused of fraud and burglary after the pensioner, 68, was discovered at a flat in West Belfast a week ago.

Age NI's chief executive Linda Robinson said she was saddened to learn of the tragic circumstances.

"In Northern Ireland a significant number of our older population live alone and are not connected to others in their community.

"We all have a role to play in reducing loneliness and isolation experienced by older people, it undermines a person's well-being and feelings of self-worth and is now being recognised as a public health challenge.

"Age NI believes that society needs to take positive steps towards tackling an issue that devastates the lives of so many older people."

The accused is due to appear at Belfast Magistrates' Court next month but is no longer suspected of murder.

Police forced entry to Ms Conlon's home in Larkspur Rise and discovered her body in her bed.

Forensic examinations continue to establish the cause of death.

A Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) statement confirmed: "The 23-year-old man arrested by detectives investigating the death of 68-year-old Marie Conlon has been charged with offences related to theft, fraud, burglary and preventing the lawful burial of a body."

A post-mortem examination was carried out recently and the results suggested that the death may have been suspicious.

Ms Conlon was last seen in January 2015 and police believe her death occurred then.

Her family said she was a "beloved sister" and would be greatly mourned.

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