Legacy Independent Funeral Directors: Everything we know from Humberside Police so far

  • 'Truly horrific': Police held a press conference on 12 March. Amelia Beckett reports

Humberside Police are investigating what they have called a "truly horrific incident" at a funeral business in East Yorkshire.

Officers began looking into Legacy Independent Funeral Directors, based in Hull, after receiving a call on 6 March.

Since then, their enquiries have escalated, prompting a string of concerns from people who have used the business and regular updates from police.

Here is everything we know about the investigation so far.

Who are Legacy Independent Funeral Directors?

According to its website, Legacy is a "family business", led by funeral director and owner, Robert Bush.

Established in 2010, it expanded from its original branch on Anlaby Road in Hull to incorporate two further branches – a funeral home in Beverley and another on Hessle Road, Hull.

"Our structure allows us to provide a dedicated and unsurpassed personal service," the website says.

"As an independent funeral director, we are able to create a unique farewell for loved ones, with more flexibility and less constraint than our competitors."

The business is thought to have been a member of the professional body, the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD), from 2011 but gave up its membership in 2021.

What prompted the investigation?

There has been heavy police presence at the branch of Legacy Independent Funeral Directors on Hessle Road in Hull

On Wednesday, 6 March, a report was made to police expressing concern about the "storage and management processes relating to the care of the deceased" at various locations run by Legacy Funeral Directors.

Police said that several enquiries were made afterwards to "ascertain the exact details, concern and circumstances".

A team of detectives started working with partner agencies including Hull City Council, East Riding of Yorkshire Council and His Majesty's Coroner.

On Friday, 8 March, police said cordons were in place at all three sites.

A direct phone line was set up for anyone with concerns.

Hull West and Hessle MP Emma Hardy said she was "extremely shocked" at the investigation and could "only imagine the distress and devastation" families felt.

A day later, on 9 March, Humberside Police confirmed it was in the process of moving "a number of deceased" from the premises on Hessle Road to the council's mortuary.

What are the allegations?

Two people – a 46-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman – have 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.

Police have not been specific about the nature of the alleged offences, but have described what has happened as a "truly horrific incident".

Deputy Chief Constable David Marshall told a press conference on 12 March: "This is an extremely complex and sensitive investigation, with heartbroken and devastated families at the core of it."

Assistant Chief Constable Thom McLoughlin told families "we will do everything we possibly can to give you the answers you deserve".

How many people are affected?

Ass Ch Cons Thom McLoughlin (L) and Dep Ch Cons David Marshall (R) have given a press conference Credit: ITV News

Police said they had moved 35 bodies from the business's premises to the city's mortuary.

The force said a "quantity" of suspected human ashes had also been recovered and were being "respectfully" moved.

On Friday, 15 March, the force said it had contacted the families of the 35 people whose bodies had been moved.

In a follow-up press conference on 4 April, officers said they were unable to identify any of the ashes that had been recovered because of the loss of DNA.

More than 2,000 calls have been made to the dedicated phone line.

More than 120 officers and civilian staff are working on the case alongside experts from the National Crime Agency.

Hull City Council said affected families would not have to pay for new funerals for their loved ones.

What about other funeral businesses?

Hull City Council said checks had been carried out at 50 funeral directors in the wake of the investigation into Legacy.

The local authority say it was "very clear" the investigation was "in no way typical" of wider problems in the industry in the area.

  • The helpline number for anyone with concerns about Legacy Independent Funeral Directors is 0800 051 4674, or 0207 126 7619 from abroad.

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