Vandals attack Sunderland funeral parlour after investigation launched into undertaker Tony Clarke

Smashed windows at the South Hylton office for Tony Clarke's funeral directing service.
Smashed windows at the South Hylton office for Tony Clarke's funeral directing service.
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A FUNERAL director has hit out after the front windows of his business were smashed.

Vandals struck at Tony Clarke’s funeral parlour in South Hylton on Wednesday night.

The undertaker came in for criticism from the city’s coroner last month after he wrongly told a grieving family their mother’s body had an infection and they couldn’t see her.

Earlier this week, the Echo reported how he is now at the centre of a police probe into allegations of fraud and theft.

Mr Clarke’s partner, Marek Filipkowski, has today spoken of his anger at the vandalism.

He said: “It is just sickening. There could be people’s loved ones in there. They did not think of the families.

“The business is still open, but there are a couple of boards on the windows and it is not looking nice.

“This is a place of worship when people’s loved ones are here and we would appreciate it if anyone who knows anything could contact the police.”

Northumbria Police confirmed officers had received a report of criminal damage to a business in Railway Terrace, which happened between 9.25pm and 9.35pm.

It was revealed earlier this week that police had launched a probe into the funeral director after an inquest heard he told the family of Pauline Kent they could not pay their respects because of a “highly-contagious” infection and her coffin needed to stay closed.

Senior Coroner, Derek Winter, said the 50-year-old undertaker had undermined the integrity of the death certificate and the mortuary procedures.

Mum-of-two Mrs Kent, 58, died at Sunderland Royal Hospital on January 2 after a two-year battle with cancer.

The family had hoped to pay their respects at Mr Clarke’s parlour on January 11, which would have been her birthday.

But he rang her daughter Tina the day before to say they couldn’t go, because her body was in such an “horrendous” condition.

Miss Kent claimed his chapel of rest was a derelict flower shop, which was still under construction when he was arranging her mum’s funeral.

He denied the claim, however it is believed detectives attended the inquest at Sunderland Coroner’s Court and have since spoken to the Kent family.

Anyone with information on the broken windows is asked to call police on 101.