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‘The ashes we have may not be my nana’s’: Family stunned as police investigate funeral home

A young woman has told of her shock and devastation on realising that the ashes she thought were her grandmother’s could belong to someone else – or might not even be ashes at all.

Bethany Hill’s family is among those to have spoken with Humberside Police after officers raided three branches of Legacy Independent Funeral Directors in Hull and East Yorkshire earlier this month.

Legacy arranged the cremation of Ms Hill’s grandmother, Sandra Cape-Melbourne, after her death in January at the age of 80.

Ms Hill, 23, said she was “really shocked” when she saw news of the investigation and realised her grandmother could have been one of those affected.

Sandra Cape-Melbourne. Her grand-daughter Bethany Hill says she is one of those cremated by Legacy Independent Funeral Directors, a business being investigated by police.
Image: Sandra Cape-Melbourne

“We are devastated to think we trusted this company, and the ashes may not actually be my nana’s,” she told Sky News.

“We were waiting a few weeks and had to ring to chase up (the ashes).

“We didn’t think much at the time though, until now, and we are obviously now worried they could potentially be someone else’s or, worse, not ashes at all.”

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Ms Hill said her mother had spoken with police about the case and the family was asked to provide details, including photos of Ms Cape-Melbourne and information on any identifiable features, such as birthmarks or tattoos.

Another woman told Sky News she had been left feeling “sad but also physically sick and just in shock” after seeing news of the case.

The woman, who did not want to be identified, said her father died in 2021 and his cremation was organised by Legacy.

She had spoken with police and they had asked her not to scatter her father’s ashes any time soon in case they are needed for forensic testing.

She said: “If they have misplaced my dad or we’ve got somebody else’s relative, we’re like, oh my God, is it actually my dad that we’ve had?

“Is my dad still in there?

“Whether he has been cremated and we’ve just got the wrong ashes, or did he not go through it at all and he’s just being left there for two years and we’re like, oh my God, are we going to have to relive it all over again?”

The report was received in relation to Legacy Independent Funeral Directors.
Image: Legacy Independent Funeral Directors

Police have removed 35 bodies from Legacy’s three branches – two in Hull and one in Beverley – after concerns were raised about “storage and management processes relating to care of the deceased”.

At least 120 police officers are working on the investigation, which has seen the arrest of two people – a man, 46, and a woman, 23 – on suspicion of prevention of lawful and decent burial, fraud by false representation and fraud by abuse of position.

The two have been bailed while police continue to investigate.

Legacy Independent Funeral Directors has not commented publicly but its website says: “We are an independent family owned business offering our clients an exceptional level of care and attention”.

Sky News Source