Police give major update on ashes given to families from raided funeral parlour

Branches were raided by police last month (Picture: Danny Lawson/PA Wire)

Families who were given ashes by a Yorkshire funeral director may never know if the remains are actually their relative’s, police have said.

Several sites run by Legacy Funeral Directors were raided by Humberside Police a month ago, and the force has since received more than 2,000 calls from worried members of the public.

Officers recovered 35 deceased from one of the branches on Hull’s Hessle Road, and ‘extensive work’ is ongoing to formally identify them.

A statement described this as a ‘lengthy process’, but one necessary to offer ‘complete assurance as to the identity of their loved ones’ before the bodies are returned to family members.

However, Assistant Chief Constable Thom McLoughlin admitted the ‘significant number’ of people who contacted the force about the identification of their loved one’s ashes cannot be given such reassurance.

He said: ‘We have been working closely with forensic scientists and specialists to assess whether it was possible to extract DNA from the human ashes in order to identify them.

‘Whilst the expert opinion provides us with assurance that the proper crematorium process had been followed; unfortunately, given the high temperature required to carry out a cremation, the DNA will have been broken down and degraded to such a level, that we would not be able to recover a meaningful DNA profile.

‘This means that we are unable to identify any of the human ashes.

‘This will, of course, be devastating news for families and loved ones and you have my heartfelt condolences at this difficult time.’

Three branches of the funeral director in Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire were cordoned off by police (Picture: Danny Lawson/PA Wire)

On March 10, a 46-year-old man and 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.

ACC McLoughlin said: ‘I can confirm that a man and a woman remain on police bail in connection to the investigation.’

In the days after the investigation into Legacy began, horrifying stories began to emerge of people who were no longer sure of what happened to their loved ones.

Mum-of-three Billie-Jo Suffill trusted the company with the bodies of her dad and brother after they died within days of each other.

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She told MailOnline that she now believes the coffin she kissed, believing her father was inside, was in fact empty – and fears the ashes she were told were her brother’s are not.

A widow from Beverley, East Riding of Yorkshire, was told by police they had discovered her husband’s body in a raid, after she and other family members had turned the ashes they were given into bespoke crystal jewellery.

One of the woman’s friends told the Telegraph: ‘The family thought they had his remains, and are now asking, “If it’s not him, then who is it?”‘

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

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