The Skegness businessman who accepted thousands of pounds from mourning families but failed to deliver their loved ones’ headstones has apologised and expressed his ‘deep regret’.
David Blakey’s masonry company, Simply Memorials, became the subject of a national media campaign led by dozens of bereaved relatives, who were left hurt, angry and short-changed, after paying hundreds, even thousands of pounds for headstones, only for their dearly departed’s graves to be left bare.
Mr Blakey has now told the Standard he will be filing for bankruptcy and apologised to his aggrieved customers for failing to deliver their orders, which he says was due to financial issues.
He said: “Obviously I deeply regret being unable to fulfil any outstanding orders and I apologise to those customers.
“I understand how angry and upset they must be, especially due to the nature of the business but I certainly have not scammed anyone and have not run away, as claimed.”
The remorseful mason has also promised to inform his customers with outstanding orders who the official receiver is so they can register as a creditor.
Many of those customers had formed a campaign group, hoping to seek justice for their loss, after weeks of being unable to contact Mr Blakey or his staff.
Mr Blakey has accused some of the group’s members of acting ‘disgracefully,’ claiming he has been subject to threats of violence, harassment and had his personal details posted on the internet.
He said: “A hate campaign has been started on Facebook and Twitter and I have received threats of violent, my photo and photos of staff at Simply Memorials have been posted on the internet along with my personal details including my address.
“It really is disgraceful what it happening - it is like a lynch mob.”
In a response to Mr Blakey’s comments, the campaign group has explained that all the information they used was already publicly accessible and therefore, they claim, no criminal act had been carried out.
The group’s members have also welcomed any legal proceedings, which they feel will help their quest for justice.
In a statement, the group wrote: “We will not stop pursuing this matter until we feel justice has been done.
“On behalf of Simply Memorials Rip Off and the poor relatives’ lives you have affected - we all look forward to seeing you in court soon.”