THEY have lost everything – their home, their savings, their reputation and even their freedom.
But the more than 700 wrongly convicted aides – now recognized as victims of the biggest vandalism of justice in British history – have yet to see anyone pay the price for the terrible wrongs committed against them.
This week, a public investigation began into allegations of fraud, theft and false accounting between 2000 and 2014.
It was all due to the data provided by the faulty computer system Horizon, which was designed by Fujitsu and imposed on the Postal branches by top management.
More than 2,000 other workers have been accused of fraudulently taking money from contractors and forcing it back out of their pockets, often causing financial loss.
To date, NO one from the Post Office, Fujitsu or the civil servants tasked with overseeing post offices has been held accountable.
Now the sub-posters are asking for that to be changed.
They hope that eventually it will be revealed who covered up the truth about the computer failures and who ordered the shredding of documents related to Fujitsu products.
Much of the anger so far has been at Paula Vennells, the Postal Service’s chief executive from 2012 to 2019, who spent millions hiring legal counsel in a failed attempt to thwart subscribers. subvert their beliefs. She is now an Anglican priest.
The investigation, led by retired Supreme Court judge Sir Wyn Williams, will also look into whether politicians and civil servants overseeing the Post Office were held accountable.
These include the current Lib Dem leader, Sir Ed Davey, the Postal Secretary in the Tory-Lib Dem coalition government at the time.
Around 2,500 sub-registrants have now applied for compensation, with the total cost expected to amount to around £1 billion.
The post office said it couldn’t pay, so taxpayers faced pick up bills.
A Post Office spokesman said: “We are under no illusions about the damage to the lives of victims of this scandal and we have changed our way of working to ensure this. cannot be repeated.
“The public inquiry is looking into exactly what happened and why, and we will await its results.
“We are fully cooperating with the investigation and expect a number of current and former employees to be called to give evidence on time.”
Below, we share the heartbreaking stories of three sub-managers who were wrongfully given prison sentences and ordered to pay huge sums of money, who hope justice will prevail in the end.
Tom Hedges, accused of stealing £23,500 – Seven months probation
CHURCH manager Tom has gone from being a pillar of the community to being a man after receiving a seven-month suspended prison sentence.
The 68-year-old father of two campaigned for the former Post Office CEO turned priest Paula Vennells to be stripped of both her CBE and her position in the clergy.
He also wants former Football Association CEO Adam Crozier, who was in charge of the Royal Mail from 2003 to 2010, to account.
“Crozier has had a glittering career, but just as deplorable as the Vennells,” he asserted.
Tom is accused of taking £23,500 so far. As one of the early adopters of the Horizon computer system, he considered it to be to blame – but his pleas fell on deaf ears.
Tom, of Chapel St Leonards, Lincs, now cleared of his name, said: “I was suspended on the spot, three weeks later quickly fired and a few weeks later called for a prudent interview. ”
Although many other postal assistants suffered a similar fate, he is said to be the only Post Office with such money missing.
Like many falsely convicted, he is threatened with a substantial prison sentence unless he pleads guilty.
For him, it’s a case of admitting something he hasn’t done or risking his life, as he needs a machine to prevent the risk of heart attack or stroke while sleeping, and there are no guarantees. that in prison.
“I was so terrified of being in prison, it almost felt like a death sentence to me,” he said.
Harjinder Butoy, accused of stealing £208,000 – three years, three months in prison
DAD-of-three Harjinder was charged with fraud for stealing £208,000 from the Post Office and received one of the longest prison sentences – three years and three months – for any person wrongly convicted.
There is no evidence that the 45-year-old, pictured with his wife Balbinder, is leading a lavish lifestyle with the money he is believed to have stolen, but that hasn’t stopped him from being locked up with the gangsters. violent crime.
He could not see his son sick, declared bankrupt and lost his shop, home and two purchased-to-lease properties that had been taken to pay for the money he had been accused of stealing.
Unable to find a job for the past 14 years due to a criminal conviction – which was finally overturned last year – Harjinder is one of many former postal workers asking the police to investigate Postmasters.
Harjinder, of Chester-field, said: “The police should make an arrest, they should interview the directors of the Post Office.
“We don’t understand why the police have not been involved since we were cleared, because the evidence is there.
“I want justice. I want someone to be charged.
“I’m sick of hearing, ‘We’re sorry,’ and that we will be compensated. I want to hear from them that they will start prosecuting those who have concealed evidence.”
Harjinder has yet to find a job and currently lives in a rented apartment complex, despite being proud to own her first home at the age of 18.
“The government knows more than that,” he added. The post office is run by the government.
“I don’t believe in public inquiry. It should be a police investigation. ”
Lorraine Williams, accused of stealing £14,600 – one year probation
LORRAINE remained with a form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after her conviction.
The fear of going to jail in 2011 after she was accused of stealing £14,600 from her small village Post Office led to so much stress, her hair started falling out.
The mother of a 56-year-old, soft-spoken, faith-stricken mother is in tears as she recounts her ordeal.
Lorraine, of Llanddaniel, Anglesey, north-west Wales, says: “I have a 10-year-old daughter. I don’t want to go to jail. I am an emotional waste.”
When she went to court, she pleaded not guilty because she was innocent.
But the judge told her to go and “rethink” the decision, and Lorraine reluctantly accepted a bargain.
Her suspended one-year prison sentence, plus 200 hours of community service, will be only part of her punishment.
“I was shunned,” Lorraine said. My daughter was bullied. When I was taking my kids to school, someone came up to me and said, ‘I don’t like what you did’. “
Before her conviction, she helped run the village’s youth club, raised children and was a shelter warden.
“I lost ten years of my life,” she said. Now I am a different person. I am angry and worried.”
https://www.the-sun.com/news/4722757/postmaster-prison-post-office-nightmare/ I went to jail and lost my home