Police have contacted ‘all families’ of 35 bodies found in funeral parlour

Police believe they have contacted “all families” of the 35 bodies found in a funeral parlour.

Legacy Independent Funeral Directors has been under investigation after officers recovered the bodies, as well as suspected human ashes, at its site on Hessle Road in Hull.

Over 1,500 calls have been made to police by previous Legacy Independent Funeral Directors customers since the probe began, Assistant Chief Constable Thom McLoughlin said.

Legacy Independent Funeral Directors investigation
Police outside the Hessle Road branch of Legacy Independent Funeral Directors in Hull (Dave Higgens/PA)

Humberside Police said detectives have been working “around the clock” since concerns were raised on March 8 “about the storage and management processes relating to care of the deceased at the funeral directors”.

ACC McLoughlin said: “Working in partnership with His Majesty’s Coroner, I can confirm that whilst formal identification procedures are ongoing, we do believe we have contacted all families of the 35 deceased.

“My specialist trained officers continue to support the families involved at this extremely difficult time whilst lengthy inquiries are ongoing.”

Formal identification of the deceased took place at Hull’s city mortuary.

Senior investigating officers from Humberside Police are working with “specialist experts” and advisors from the National Crime Agency (NCA) to confirm if human ashes have been uncovered as well.

Police previously arrested a 46-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman on suspicion of prevention of a lawful and decent burial, fraud by false representation and fraud by abuse of position.

Legacy Independent Funeral Directors investigation
Flowers are left outside the Hessle Road branch of Legacy Independent Funeral Directors in Hull (Dave Higgens/PA)

The pair have been released on bail pending further inquiries.

Police said specialist search teams finished going through the premises on Thursday but a cordon is still in place on Hessle Road.

ACC McLoughlin asked people not to speculate and “show the utmost respect for bereaved families”, adding: “This has truly been an awful incident and the families are understandably distraught and have many questions, and we are doing everything we possibly can to give them the answers they deserve.

“This is an extremely complex and sensitive investigation, and we are continuing to work with the His Majesty’s Coroner, Hull City and East Riding Council.”

This week, one woman said she believed she kissed an empty coffin at her father’s funeral.

Billie-Jo Suffill, a mother of three from Hull, said she felt “physically sick” after not receiving her father’s ashes.

The 33-year-old lost 52-year-old Andrew Suffill in July 2022, and her brother Dwane Suffill, 34, five days later.

She told the Daily Mirror newspaper: “I bet my dad was not even in the coffin – it was an empty coffin.

“I was kissing an empty coffin. When I think about it, it is disgusting. It’s like something out of a horror movie.

“I wonder if this will stop at 35 bodies. I think my dad is one of them.”

Legacy Independent Funeral Directors is owned by Robert Bush, according to Companies House.

Humberside Police said those who are concerned about the alleged incident are encouraged to contact its Major Incident Portal.