Failed attempts to serve winding up petition on Legacy Independent Funeral Directors

Police outside the Beckside branch of Legacy Independent Funeral Directors in Hull after after reports of "concern for care of the deceased". PA
A police investigation was launched at Legacy on 6 March. Credit: PA

Attempts to contact the owners of Legacy Independent Funeral Directors as part of formal steps to dissolve the business have so far failed, a court has heard.

The Hull-based firm is at the centre of a major police investigation over concerns about its care for the deceased.

Last month 35 bodies along with ashes were removed from its premises on Hessle Road.

Two people have been arrested on suspicion of fraud and preventing a lawful and decent burial and remain on bail.

The company, which has two sites in Hull and one in Beverley, is thought to owe around £40,000 to Hull City Council in unpaid fees and charges, including cremation fees.

A hearing was held at Hull County Court on Tuesday as part of the formal process of attempting to liquidate the company.

But the court heard efforts to serve the petition in person on the business owners, and to contact them by phone, had been unsuccessful.

Paul Thompson, representing Hull City Council, said: "In essence there's no one from the company managing the business affairs on that basis to serve a winding-up petition."

No-one from the company was present at the hearing.

The case was adjourned for three weeks to give the authority additional time to try to serve the petition.

Legacy has not been in operation since Humberside Police began an investigation into what they called a "truly horrific incident" on 6 March.

On Thursday, police said it was not possible to identify any of the cremated ashes because "the DNA will have been broken down and degraded" due to the high temperature during the cremation process.

Police and the council are now in control of the company's premises.

In a statement on 27 March the council said it had last year obtained a county court judgement in relation to unpaid fees and charges, including cremation fees, amounting to more than £50,000.

A spokesperson added: "A payment arrangement was put in place, with the last payment being made to the Council on 2 February 2024. The remaining debt is now £40,938.08.

"We are exploring options to recoup that sum, and have issued a petition to wind up the company."

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