Families affected by Legacy funeral director investigation call for regulation moves to continue

  • Video report by Matt Price

Families affected by an investigation into a funeral director where bodies were allegedly improperly cared for fear the recently-announced general election will slow a campaign to regulate the industry.

Relatives of the dead are campaigning for tighter controls, as there is currently no statutory code of conduct in place.

The investigation into Legacy Independent Funeral Directors in East Yorkshire began after a report to police on 6 March over concerns about the "storage and management" of bodies.

A few days later, police removed 35 bodies from three of the company's premises in Hull and Hessle. A 46-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman were arrested on suspicion of prevention of a lawful and decent burial, fraud by false representation and fraud by abuse of position.

Richard Shaw lost his wife Rita in October, but doesn’t know whether the ashes he now has are hers.

Richard Shaw, who lost his wife Rita in October 2023, believes it's too easy to open a funeral director business.

"I hope they get it in place sooner than later," he said.

"I could set up my own business and do it - it's harder to set up a takeaway business than to run a funeral parlour."

It’s a concern shared by Karen Dry, who now organises vigils for affected families in Hull. She says the fight for change will continue in the weeks after the general election on 4 July.

"I now owe it to my parents to make sure that this doesn't happen to anyone else."

"Whoever takes over [as Prime Minister] I'm sure will pick up the mantle, we'll make sure that they pick up the mantle," she said.

"We're not really going to give them a choice."

Karen Dry is determined to keep pushing for changes to be made.

Funeral director Kevin Moxon, who runs branches of his business in Scarborough and Hull, says work to that effect is still continuing despite the election.

"Two professional bodies are working together primarily looking at bringing together regulations and will be advising whoever takes power," he said.

"That's still taking place."

Liberal Democrat-led Hull City Council has been offering mental and emotional help to affected families, and there is cross-party support for regulations.

"We know that people are incredibly vulnerable when they're dealing with deceased loved ones, so there needs to be regulation to protect them," said Emma Hardy, the Labour MP for Hull West and Hessle.

Conservative MP for Beverley and Holderness, Graham Stuart, agrees.

"I think, from working with local Labour MPs... that whoever wins this election, there will be a quick move to collect evidence from around the country, and decide on steps to bring this industry into proper regulation at last," he said.

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