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Home » Grieving Daughter Fears She ‘kissed An Empty Coffin’ At Her Father’s Funeral – As Police Remove 34 Bodies From Undertakers Used By Her Family

Grieving Daughter Fears She ‘kissed An Empty Coffin’ At Her Father’s Funeral – As Police Remove 34 Bodies From Undertakers Used By Her Family

A grieving daughter fears she may have kissed her father’s empty coffin after the funeral directors used by her family came under investigation.

Police removed 34 bodies from Legacy Independent Funeral Directors on Hessle Road in Hull on Sunday amid ‘concern for care of the deceased’. 

Mother-of-three Billie Jo Suffill, 33, used the firm for the cremations of both her father and brother, who tragically died five days apart in 2022.

She said her tearful farewell to her father Andy Suffill when his life was cut tragically short at the age of 52 on July 9 two years ago.

In a tragic twist, his son Dwane – Miss Suffill’s brother – took his life five days later on July 14 after finding his father’s body. Dwane had suffered from mental health problems after losing his mother around seven years prior.

Speaking about her father’s death, Miss Suffill said: ‘I never actually got to see my dad’s body. I wanted to see him dressed in his new clothes but I never got to.’

She added: ‘I bet my dad was not even in the coffin – it was an empty coffin. I was kissing an empty coffin. When I think about it now it is disgusting.’

Mother-of-three Billie Jo Suffill, 33, is pictured with her father who died in 2022. Her brother died five days after

Police patrolling outside the Beckside branch of Legacy Independent Funeral Directors in Hull on March 9

Rob Bush (left) who runs the funeral directors is pictured with his daughter Saskya who is an employee 

Police conducted a raid and removed 34 bodies after concerns were raised about the conduct of Legacy Independent Funeral Directors in Hull 

Mr Suffill died after he was attacked by two men the night before and took some tablets in the house he shared with his Dwane.

Dwane went down to check on his father and found him dead. 

He was overcome with grief and took an overdose five days later. An inquest concluded it was suicide.

Miss Suffill said: ‘I got ashes after my brother’s funeral. But now I don’t even know if they are his ashes and I never got any from my dad.’

She added: ‘I wanted my brother’s funeral at a proper chapel. He was my best friend and it broke my heart when he died.’

Humberside Police said officers have removed 34 bodies from the firm’s premises and have taken them to a mortuary for ‘formal identification procedures to take place’.

Legacy’s finances are also under scrutiny, with accounts overdue and the firm receiving its fifth ‘compulsory strike off’ warning in two years. But it was trading normally before police swooped on its three branches last Thursday.

A 46-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman have been arrested on suspicion of prevention of a lawful and decent burial, fraud by false representation and fraud by abuse of position.

Robert Bush (pictured) is the company boss of Legacy Independent Funeral Directors

Saskya Bush is employed by her father Robert Bush, who is the company owner 

Residents reported seeing police at the Hessle Road branch in the early hours last Thursday

Officers have been stationed outside the Hessle Road branch of Legacy Independent Funeral Directors

Yesterday, it was revealed hundreds of mourners may have been given the wrong ashes from the funeral directors. 

More than 350 calls have been made to the hotline set up for grieving families and a number of relatives have expressed concerns that the ashes they were given following cremation could have been from a different body. 

Leila Parker-Poland, from Hull, recalled how she went to the Legacy building and was initially told her mother’s ashes couldn’t be found. She said ‘later that night he turned up at my house and passed me the ashes’ and she even joked about it ‘not being her ashes.’

Legacy also dealt with her father’s earlier death.

The grieving daughter said she now has ‘so many questions in my head’ and wonders if the funeral staff did ‘dress them in the clothes we wanted.’

Ms Parker-Poland said she knew of another woman with ‘a box of ashes from Legacy’ who phoned the crematorium today and was told ‘no one of that name was cremated’ on the dates given. ‘So she is sat with ashes that were not her dad’s,’ speculated Ms Parker-Poland.

At least one person is said to have made an item of jewellery using the ashes of a loved one and is now questioning the validity of the remains.

One man told the Mirror: ‘All families that ever had any dealings with this company are worried.’

Humberside Police are investigating the funeral directors after receiving a report expressing ‘concern about the storage and management processes relating to care of the deceased’

Another devastated relative, Emma Osborne, said that she had been informed that her stepfather Danny Middleton may be one of the 34 bodies, despite relatives being supposedly given his ashes a month ago.

The funeral service took place in the Legacy branch and she said his body ‘has just been found in the morgue’.

Ms Osborne told the Telegraph: ‘As far as we know he has got his ID band on him, that’s all we know, he has not been identified properly.

‘They [the funeral directors] have given my step-brother ashes a month ago, they have given him ashes saying that it was my step-dad. I think there might be a number of other people that have been in the same [position][, that’s all I can say.’

Neighbours said Mr Middleton had spent his final years living on his own with his cocker spaniel Elvis after his wife’s death. 

Mandy Callis, who was a neighbour of Mr Middleton for six years, told the newspaper that it would be ‘disgusting’ if has been treated like this.

Another woman, who asked not to be named, said she was suffering from ‘panic attacks’, ‘depression’ and was ‘not coping’ out of worry about how her partner’s body and remains were dealt with and whether the ashes in a glass bottle in her home were really from him.

She said her partner, who was in his mid-60s, was suffering from pneumonia and cancer when he died in December 2021.

She saw his body when it was at the Hessle branch of Hull-based Legacy but was concerned about marks on his face and neck.

A cremation took place in early January but she said ‘it took them ages for the ashes to be given to me’. She added: ‘I have still got some of the ashes in a glass bottle and my daughter has got some, but my big worry is that it could be the wrong ashes.’

Police have said nothing to suggest there is evidence she received the wrong ashes, but she said ‘there is so much speculation on social media that you just don’t know what to think’.

The firm is run by owner Mr Bush, a married father-of-two and motorbike racing fanatic, and his daughter Saskya, an engineering graduate.

Sources told the Mirror that the parlour was targeted by police following an undercover sting. 

Assistant Chief Constable Thom McLoughlin said in a statement: ‘Since the report on Wednesday March 6, cordons remain in place at all three Legacy Independent Funeral Directors premises. The dedicated phone line remains open and has received over 350 calls from concerned members of the public since Friday.

‘We continue to encourage anyone who has used Legacy Independent Funeral Directors and has concerns to call us on 0800 051 4674 or 0207 126 7619 if you are calling from abroad.

‘Each call we receive is being carefully handled and delicately assessed by a specialist team to ensure we have a thorough understanding of each family’s circumstances.

‘We will get back to each and every one of you as soon as we can. Please be reassured that my staff and officers are working around the clock to deal with the unprecedented inquiries generated as a result of this incident.’