THE sister of a North Belfast man whose body was recovered at the weekend after he had been reported missing has described him as her “best friend”.

Father-of-one Joshua McKeown (26) from Skegoneill was reported missing last Wednesday (June 22) at around 8am.

Following an extensive search, which involved the Community Rescue Service, police confirmed that they had recovered a body on Sunday afternoon.

A post-mortem was due to take place to determine the cause of death, but police said it was not being treated as suspicious.

Speaking to the North Belfast News, his heartbroken sister, Aisha McIntyre (24), said she and Joshua were “stuck at the hip”.

“He wasn’t just my brother, he was my best friend. We were stuck at the hip,” she said.

“He was a brilliant brother. He would have done anything for anybody.

“When he was reported missing, it broke my heart that I didn’t know where he was. He would always phone me and let me know where he was and how he was getting on.

“When I didn’t hear from him, I knew something was wrong.

“As a family, we are so grateful to the Community Search and Rescue Team for all their effort.”

DUP councillor Dean McCullough visited Joshua’s family this week to offer his condolences.

“Joshua’s parents wish to publicly thank the PSNI, Community Search and Rescue  volunteers and the passer-by who found Josh for bringing her beloved son home. 

“They also want to thank each and every one of you, for your ongoing support, which helps to sustain her, and her family, at this tragic time. 

“Josh was loved unconditionally by his family, friends, and all those that knew him. The fond memories he left will last a lifetime. He lives on in their hearts.”

North Belfast Sinn Féin MP John Finucane said: “This is absolutely tragic news and I extend my deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Joshua McKeown.

“I also wish to pay tribute to the emergency services and everyone that helped in the search for Joshua who had gone missing in North Belfast.

“While details remain unclear it wouldn’t be appropriate to comment further other than to note that the death is not thought to be suspicious.

“We will of course await any additional information as further details  are made public.”

In his death notice, Joshua is described as the beloved son of Jennifer and Colin, much-loved brother of Dylan, Aisha and Lewis, devoted daddy of Isla-Rose, loving uncle of Freya, Ebony and Keira and cousin of Clarke.

His funeral will take place in Stephen McCosh Funeral Directors on the Shankill Road on Thursday morning (June 30) at 11.45am and afterwards to Roselawn Cemetery.

His family have asked for donations in lieu if desired to Community Rescue Service, care of Stephen McCosh Funeral Directors.