'Human ashes' discovered and 35 bodies to be identified after funeral parlour raid

By John Mercury March 13, 2024

Suspected human ashes were discovered at the funeral parlour in Hull where 35 bodies were removed in a police raid last week.

In an update on Tuesday afternoon, Deputy Chief Constable Dave Marshall and Assistant Chief Constable Thom McLoughlin from Humberside Police said they were pursuing “extensive lines of enquiry” in a “lengthy” and “intricate” investigation.

They said they had received 1,000 calls of concern regarding the case.

Legacy Funeral Directors in Hull. Pic: Google Street View
Image:
Legacy Funeral Directors in Hull. Pic: Google Street View

Two people – a man aged 46 and a woman aged 23 – had been arrested on suspicion of prevention of a lawful and decent burial, fraud by false representation and fraud by abuse of position.

They have since been released on bail with conditions while the investigation continues.

The 35 bodies were recovered between last Friday morning and Saturday evening, and have been “respectfully transported” from one of Legacy Independent Funeral Directors’ three branches to a mortuary in Hull for formal identification procedures.

Recovery of the suspected human ashes is ongoing, along with searches of “various business premises that are linked to the suspects who were detained”.

Humberside Police said more than 120 police staff were working on the case, which reflects “the sheer size and scale of the investigation”.

Mr McLoughlin added that the investigation was at a “critical point”.

“I recognise that this is a distressing time for all of those affected and I have no doubt it will have a significant impact across all our local communities and beyond.”

He said his “heart goes out” to all those affected by the “truly terrible set of circumstances,” adding: “I can only imagine how distressing this is and how upsetting it will be for you and your families.”

35 bodies recovered from Legacy Independent Funeral Directors
Image:
Assistant Chief Constable Thom McLoughlin

“I know that you’ll want and need much more information than I can give you today but as we progress with the investigation I want to reassure you that we will provide you [with] updates as soon as we can and I also want to give you a personal commitment that I will do everything possible to give you the answers that you deserve.”

He also asked that the public refrained from speculating on the investigation.

A large number of police have been seen at the funeral parlour site, including forensics officers dressed in white protective suits and the maritime protection unit.

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Police had raided all three branches – two in Hull and one in Beverley – after concerns were raised about “storage and management processes relating to care of the deceased”.

Police urged anyone concerned with the service they received from the funeral parlour to use the dedicated phone line.

Legacy Independent Funeral Directors is a family-run business established in 2010, according to its website. It has yet to comment publicly.

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