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Relative of alleged Hull funeral home victim says his ‘world turned upside down’

A grieving relative who received what he believed were his grandmother’s ashes only to be told her body was one of 35 found in a Hull funeral home has said his “whole world has been turned upside down”.

Liam, not his real name, told Sky News correspondent Charlotte Leeming he used Legacy Independent Funeral Directors when his beloved grandmother died last November.

The family had a service at Legacy’s chapel and organised a cremation with the funeral directors.

Liam then gave the ashes he thought were his grandmother’s to other family members.

But his world was upended when he heard about the discovery of 35 bodies at a Legacy funeral home and called Humberside Police’s dedicated phoneline shortly after.

A liaison officer visited Liam the next day and told him a body had been found at the funeral home they suspected was his grandmother.

Police suspected it might be his grandmother because they found a hospital bracelet still attached to the body.

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He supplied police with DNA, photos and other identifying information to help with the case.

What followed was a series of confusing incidents and twists for Liam.

Last Friday, he received a call from police to say they could confirm one of the 35 bodies was his grandmother.

Shortly after, his liaison officer called and said the earlier call must have been a prank call as the DNA results had not been returned.

Then, just a few hours later, the liaison officer contacted him again to say the first call had, in fact, been the police, but the DNA results were indeed not back yet.

Police have asked people to 'refrain from speculation' about what may have happened

He said the situation has made him feel “helpless”.

“I don’t feel like I can believe what the police are saying,” he told Sky News.

“The way we’re being treated now is absolutely shocking.

“There’s no support network. There’s nobody checking up on us every single day.

“They call to tell us that they have no information, which doesn’t make us feel any better. It doesn’t support us in any way. It just makes us feel more isolated,” he said.

The situation has left him “disheartened and discouraged” with the police, he added.

“I was so close to my grandma. She brought me up as a child, and in the last few years of her life, I’ve been a carer for her. She lived with me.

“So she’s been more of a mother figure than a grandma.

“It is not just a mistake for somebody to say ‘yes, your grandma has been identified’ – I believe that she probably has – but they’re withholding the information which brings me no closure, no support.

“It doesn’t put my mind at ease because we don’t know.”

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Image: Flowers left outside the funeral home

Liam added: “Every minute seems like hours. And every hour seems like months and years.

“It is so shocking and so scary not to know what they’ve been doing to our loved ones.

“And there’s absolutely nothing we can do but sit and wait to hear what the police have to say.”

Humberside Police said last week it believes it had contacted all of the families of the 35 people found in the funeral home.

More than 1,500 calls were made to the dedicated phoneline for people who used Legacy Independent Funeral Directors.

Two people – a man aged 46 and a woman aged 23 – were arrested on suspicion of prevention of a lawful and decent burial, fraud by false representation and fraud by abuse of position.

They have been released on bail while the investigation continues.

Three branches of the funeral directors were raided earlier this month, two in Hull and one in Beverley, over concerns about “storage and management processes relating to care of the deceased”.

Sky News understands the process of formal identification will take some time and as a result police are not expected to be able to confirm formal identities to families until a later date.

Deputy Chief Constable Dave Marshall, of Humberside Police, said: “Specialist trained family liaison officers have met with the family to which this report relates to offer our reassurance and we will continue to support them in any way that we can, as our intentions are to provide a compassionate service to those who have been affected.

“The families affected as part of this investigation are our utmost concern and priority, and in this case, whilst trying to ensure we offer as much support through keeping families informed and up to date with the investigation and its progression, an error has been made on our part.

“This is a large scale and complex, criminal investigation and the volume of contact we have received from the public and those affected by this incident has been significant.

“I want to offer my reassurance that any information in relation to identification would only ever be delivered through a specially trained family liaison officer, and always face to face, to provide the care and assistance needed to the family who are awaiting answers.”

Sky News Source