Hull funeral home inquiry: New support line launches for families of the dead

Aerial view of Legacy Independent Funeral Directors' premises in Hessle Road, Hull
Police say their investigation is "highly complex" [PA Media]

A new support line has launched, as police continue to investigate alleged wrongdoing by a funeral director.

Humberside Police said its staff had received more than 2,000 calls since receiving a report of concern for "care of the deceased" at Legacy Independent Funeral Directors on 6 March.

On Thursday, the force announced the charity Victim Support had opened a support line for families affected.

Two people arrested in connection with the probe remain on bail, police added.

Assistant Chief Constable Thom McLoughlin and Deputy Chief Constable David Marshall
Assistant Chief Constable Thom McLoughlin, pictured left at a previous press conference, says police are working "night and day" on the investigation [BBC]

Earlier this month, officers removed 35 bodies and a quantity of ashes from the company's premises in Hessle Road, Hull.

Providing an update on the major investigation, Assistant Chief Constable Thom McLoughlin said he recognised it was a "difficult and distressing time" for the community.

Detectives were working "day and night" to give families "the answers they want and deserve", he said.

Mr McLoughlin said the support line would provide additional support and care "for a range of concerns and worries people understandably have".

He said the investigation "continues to be multifaceted" and "highly complex", with "numerous lines of inquiry" pursued.

Officers continue to support the families of the 35 deceased, Mr McLoughlin said, with a specialist investigation team working with those "more widely affected in relation to suspected fraudulent activity", as well as the "ongoing management of the recovered ashes of loved ones".

Mr McLoughlin said: "I would like to say a personal thank you to the families, as well as to others who have been affected, for their patience and understanding as we continue to investigate."

Debbie Harding, area manager for Victim Support, said the charity was committed to supporting those impacted.

She added: "We have fully trained staff available to listen to concerns and ensure those affected are provided with the very best support, either through our own services or those of trusted partners locally.

"We want those affected to know that they are not alone and that support is available."

A 46-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman, who were arrested on suspicion of prevention of a lawful and decent burial, fraud by false representation and fraud by abuse of position, remain on police bail.

The Victim Support support line number is 0808 281 1136.

Heathrow airport sign
Two people were arrested after touching down at Heathrow Airport, police say [Reuters]

Timeline: The police investigation

6 March - Humberside Police receive a report "expressing concern about the storage and management processes relating to care of the deceased"

8 March - Cordons are erected and officers attend at Legacy's three premises - two in Hull and one in nearby Beverley

9 March - Officers arrest a 46-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman after they touch down at Heathrow Airport. The pair are "transported to Humberside"

10 March - 34 bodies are removed from Legacy's premises in Hessle Road, Hull, and taken to the city's mortuary

12 March - Police revise the number of bodies removed from the funeral directors to 35, adding a quantity of what they believe to be human ashes was also recovered from the premises. The force states two people arrested have since been been bailed

15 March - The families of all 35 deceased have now been contacted, police say. Specialists from the National Crime Agency are drafted in. Police say they have received more than 1,500 calls from the public

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