Distraught couples who fell foul of Craig Williamson’s two-year con were left with thousands of pounds of extra costs as they desperately tried to salvage their ruined plans.
The former estate manager for the luxurious Guthrie Castle appeared in Dundee Sheriff Court yesterday.
At a first diet hearing before Sheriff Alistair Carmichael, Williamson pleaded guilty to defrauding various couples of a total of £130,000 by having them pay money in to his bank account, having pretended that the account details he had given belonged to Guthrie Castle and that he had no intention of reserving the day couples had booked.
Richard Breiden, formerly of Arbroath, planned to marry at the luxury estate next year but said he has decided to tie the knot in England after losing his booking at the luxury venue.
He had been due to marry his fiancée Georgina Genovese in May next year at the venue.
But he was told earlier this year that the event was being cancelled after Williamson’s fraud was exposed.
Mr Breiden, who now lives in Peterborough, had intended to sue Guthrie Castle Ltd to recoup the deposit he had paid for the venue but said he has now received a “sizeable chunk” of his money back.
He said: “I came to agreement with them and got my deposit back as they said they had stopped doing weddings.”
The 30-year-old added: “We’ve just paid a deposit for another venue but it’s down in England because it’s been such a hassle.
“It was a long way to travel up and down to try to get things sorted.”
It is understood that at least two couples who were duped by the fraudster have since separated, their relationships perhaps another victim of Williamson’s deceit.
One groom, who spoke to The Courier anonymously, said he and his bride went on to have “the happiest day of their lives”, but not before having to fork out thousands of pounds extra – on top of the tens of thousands they had already paid.
The groom said: “Our wedding, fortunately, went ahead at the castle but to be frank, we weren’t entirely happy with how we were treated.
“We had to prove every last payment we had given over to Williamson, who was in charge of the package deal, or so we thought.
“There were a lot of elements which we thought would have been in place that weren’t, and at one point one of the staff told us during a meeting that what we were going through wasn’t the ‘worst case scenario’.
“They said just three to four weeks before we were due to be married that the wedding might be cancelled.
“I feel like they should have apologised to us for the stress caused.
“I know they were a victim of a crime, as were a lot of people, but their response to us didn’t put them in a good light.”
No one from Guthrie Castle was available for comment.