Sunderland funeral director cleared of wrongdoing after police probe

Funeral director Tony Clarke.
Funeral director Tony Clarke.
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A police investigation has cleared a Wearside funeral director of any wrongdoing after concerns were raised during an inquest.

Tony Clarke has said his 18-month “ordeal” has come to a close after Northumbria Police confirmed no crimes had been committed after reports relating to possible theft or fraud offences involving the 50-year-old.

It has had an impact on the business, I’ve had one or two clients cancel after reading things on the internet.

Tony Clarke

It followed comments from the family of Pauline Kent, 58, who died in Sunderland Royal Hospital last year after a two-year battle with cancer, when they were told they could not see her body.

The issues were noted during an inquest led by coroner Derek Winter, who expressed concerns over Mr Clarke’s actions.

Now South Hylton-based Mr Clarke has said he is pleased the probe has come to a close.

Federation of Funeral Directors has reinstated the businessman’s membership, and he has been checked by Sunderland City Council’s environmental services team.

Mr Clarke is now displaying a copy of a police disclosure stating he has no convictions, and has never been arrested or interviewed over the claims.

He now has change-of-use permission to embalm at his premises, and has said his parlour has never been derelict.

Mr Clarke said: “Now I can carry on with my funerals after this ordeal which has been going on for a year and a half.

“It has had an impact on the business, I’ve had one or two clients cancel after reading things on the internet. The Federation of Funeral Directors have no concerns and we have its badge in our window with pride.”