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Horror funeral home cops were investigating 2nd parlour in ‘horrific’ probe as 35 bodies & human ashes uncovered

COPS at the centre of a “truly horrific” funeral home fraud probe were investigating a second parlour, we can reveal.

Officers recovered 35 bodies and a quantity of human ashes during a raid on Legacy Independent Funeral Directors in Hull, East Yorks.

PACops investigating Legacy Independent Funeral Directors were investigating a second parlous, Heavenly Services[/caption]

PALegacy took over Heavenly’s premises in Hessle Road, Hull (pictured) after it collapsed[/caption]

A 46-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman arrested in connection with the investigation have been bailed.

We can now reveal a second firm, Heavenly Services, was also probed by cops in Hull over fraud claims.

Cops launched a criminal investigation into Heavenly Services in November 2021 after receiving complaints from customers a month after it collapsed.

They included devastated Nikki McLoughlin who discovered the plot her dad, Bernard Skerrett, 78, had paid for in advance did not exist.

She told how her and wife, Veronica, paid £5,000 for funeral services through Heavenly.

But when he died from Covid in October 2021 the family were heartbroken to discover no plot had been reserved.

She said: “I feel physically sick. My dad would be turning. I dread to think what he is thinking up there.”

And grieving Sonya Smith claimed she was contacted by Heavenly Services to get her partner “picked up” after they went bust.

The owner of Heavenly, Simon Woolston, 51, was investigated but the case was dropped after he died.

Legacy later took over Heavenly’s premises in Hessle Road.

A Humberside Police spokeswoman said: “An investigation was carried out in November 2021 after we received reports from members of the public regarding the fraudulent use of monies intended for pre-paid funeral plans through the company Heavenly Services.

“Heavenly Services operated at the same premise on Hessle Road, Hull, as a separate company, Legacy funeral Directors, who we received a report of concern about the storage and management processes relating to care of the deceased in these locations.

“This report was received March 6 and whilst we are in the early stages of our enquires, at this stage we do not believe the two investigations to be connected.”

She added: “An advice file was prepared for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for the Heavenly Service investigation to assess if any charges could be brought.

“However, the owner of the business who was a suspect died, and the CPS do not provide a charging decision upon a case when a suspect is deceased.”

‘TRULY HORRIFIC’

Humberside Deputy Chief Constable Dave Marshall said officers were continuing to support families through the “extremely difficult and distressing time”.

He added: “This has been a truly horrific incident and understandably they are distraught and have many questions to be answered.”

Humberside Police assistant chief constable Thom McLoughlin, who is leading the investigation, said: “So far, we are pursuing extensive lines of inquiry and have special search and forensic teams conducting thorough searches.

“I recognise that this is a distressing time for all of those affected and I have no doubt it will have a significant impact across all our local communities and beyond.”

The bodies recovered have since been taken to a local mortuary for “formal identification procedures to take place”.

Documents showed the funeral directors had been on the brink of being struck off the Companies House register for two years.

The firm’s accounts are currently overdue and the company has received its fifth public warning that it faces a ‘compulsory strike-off’.

I feel physically sick. My dad would be turning. I dread to think what he is thinking up there

Nikki McLoughlin, who used Heavenly Services for her dad’s funeral

Since January 2022, the undertaker has been receiving warnings that proceedings will begin to dissolve the company and inform creditors it is failing to meet its financial obligations.

On each occasion the firm has won a reprieve and compulsory strike-off action has been discontinued.

But a further First Gazette Notice – issued by Companies House to signal its intention to strike off a company – has just been issued against the firm.

On its website, Legacy proudly promises ‘the best service and care available’.

It states: “Established in 2010, we have grown from our original Anlaby Rd Branch to incorporate a further 2 branches, including our funeral home in Beverley, East Yorkshire and our latest branch on Hessle Road, Hull.

“Our structure allows us to provide a dedicated and unsurpassed personal service.

“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.

“With such breadth of experience, you and your family are assured the best service and care available.”

PAPolice outside the Hessle Road branch of Legacy Independent Funeral Directors in Hull on Saturday after reports of ‘concern for care of the deceased’[/caption]

PADetectives suspect relatives paid for cremations at Heavenly Services that never occurred[/caption]

GettyCops raided three Legacy locations in Anlaby Road (pictured) and Hessle Road in Hull, and in Beverley[/caption]

PAA police officer stands guard outside Legacy Independent Funeral Directors in Beverely, East Yorkshire[/caption]

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