23 July 2024

Funeral director bids to reassure clients amid Legacy probe

A local funeral director has sought to reassure past, present and future customers amid an ongoing police investigation into the activities of Legacy Independent Funeral Directors.

M Garton & Son, which has a branch in Magdalen Lane, Hedon, as well as in Hull, South Cave and Brough, said recent media reports had caused great anxiety to some of its clients.

The firm issued a statement on social media, saying it hoped it would go some way towards reassuring its current customers that their lost loved ones were being cared for respectfully and appropriately.

M Garton & Son, which was established in 1888 and is now being run by the fourth and fifth family generations, said there were “a number of tried and trusted systems in place to perform our role consistently well”, including identification of the deceased which is checked at least four times by staff during the various stages within the funeral home. The final check is witnessed and documented.

There are also stringent processes in place to ensure the correct handling and identification of ashes, it said.

M Garton & Son said its internal staff (funeral directors, operatives and admin) were all permanent, and that they were trained, supervised and experienced. “Every employee fully understands our moral and commercial needs in care of the deceased and to perform to the highest levels for the family.”

It comes after police confirmed that a total of 35 bodies had been recovered amid the investigation into Legacy Independent Funeral Directors, which has two branches in Hull and one in Beverley.

After an initial report on Wednesday, March 6, over concerns for Legacy’s storage and management processes in relation to the deceased, police attended and cordoned off all three of its funeral parlours.

Two people, a 46-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman, were arrested last weekend 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.

On Tuesday, March 12, Humberside Police Assistant Chief Constable Thom McLoughlin and Deputy Chief Constable David Marshall addressed a media conference, which heard that more than 1,000 people had called a special helpline that was set up last Friday.

Asst Chf Con McLoughlin said: “As part of our extensive lines of inquiries, specialist search teams of forensics are in the process of carrying out thorough and vigorous searches at various premises linked to the suspect.

“We continue to work closely with His Majesty’s Coroner, Hull City Council and East Riding Council.

“We continue to encourage anyone who has concerns over the services they’ve received from Legacy Independent Funeral Directors and has not yet spoken to us, to please call us.”

The dedicated helpline is 0800 051 4674 or 0207 126 7619 for those calling from abroad. People can also submit information through the Major Incident Portal (MIPP) at mipp.police.uk/operation/16HQ19P01-PO1.

Victim support also has a dedicated telephone line on 0808 16 89 111.