March memorial firm carried on taking money from customers weeks after admitting he had financial problems
- Credit: Archant
A retired nurse who paid almost £1,000 to a stonemason before finding out he has a trail of unhappy customers, blasted him for taking money from vulnerable people.
Ellie De Pasquale paid £940 to Gary Manning of Kent Memorials on March 10 - six weeks after we ran our first story about him running into financial difficulties.
Five months after paying him she has not had a headstone.
She said: “He’s still taking money from vulnerable grieving people and not supplying them with a headstone.
“I researched as I needed a headstone for my deceased mother.
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“I found the company run by Gary Manning. I paid him £940 and was told that the headstone would be in place in a few weeks.
“I paid on March 10 as a bank transfer. I still have no headstone.
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“Police and fraud have been informed. I’m unable to get my money back.
“I am a retired nurse of 27 years and now unable to work for health reasons. I have no means of getting this money back.
“This man needs to be found and punished for what he has done. I am not the only one he has scammed.”
It is the ninth story in the Cambs Times about the doomed Station Road monumental headstone business that closed at the beginning of this year.
In January Mr Manning apologised to customers. He pledged every effort was being made to honour orders in a “difficult time for families.”
In a post on Facebook he said: “I would like to address all customers of Kent WK Memorials and to publicly apologise to those who have recently experienced unsatisfactory service, during what is already a difficult time for them and their families.
“Unfortunately the company has been facing some financial strain after a heavy tax bill was enforced, and had to be settled using both the floating assets of the company and personal savings.
“This has the company struggling to turn over a profit. Every effort is being taken to ensure customer orders can still be completed as soon as possible.
“It has been with great regret that the company has been struck down in this way, and full admission of these taxes could have been accounted for better, however the sheer degree of miscalculation was not picked up on by the Inland Revenue until such point it had become a vast amount detrimental to the usual flow rate of the business.
“All of my customers will be contacted in the coming days to discuss their orders in more detail and to give progress updates on their respective orders.
“Please all accept my sincere apologies for the lack of contact, I’ve desperately been trying to sort all this out behind closed doors.”