JUSTICE for those whose lives were destroyed by the long-running Post Office Horizon IT scandal has been welcomed by Redditch residents after the airing of an ITV drama helped bring some action.
A total of 736 sub-postmasters and sub-postmistresses across the country were wrongly prosecuted between 1999 and 2015 for false accounting, theft and fraud, on the basis of faulty information supplied by the Horizon IT system being used at the time by the Post Office.
Last week’s ‘Mr Bates vs The Post Office’ drama has intensified pressure on the government to finally deal with the scandal described as the most widespread miscarriage of justice in UK history.
Among the victims was Julian Wilson, who ran the post office in Astwood Bank, with his wife Karen from 2001 to 2008.
The couple were hoping to build up the business and fund their retirement.
But their lives came crashing down when Julian was wrongly blamed, along with hundreds of other sub-postmasters, of stealing cash after his account showed a shortfall in excess of £27,000.
Julian was advised by his lawyer to admit guilt to avoid jail. He was later convicted and sentenced to do 300 hours of unpaid community service.
However, he was never a criminal – the Post Office’s controversial accounting software, the Horizon IT system – which sub-postmasters were forced to use – created major shortfalls in their accounts.
Julian sadly died of cancer in 2016, but Karen continued to fight for justice and in 2021 his name was cleared.
Many people in Redditch took to social media this week in their droves to show their outrage.
Angela Dangerfield said: “I always remember Julian, he was such a lovely helpful man.
“It was awful the way he was treated the post office should pay up.
“But whatever they could never pay enough too make up for what those families went through, they lost everything.”
Martin Ross said: “Julian and Karen were two of the nicest people I’ve ever met, it’s appalling what happened and so frustrating we couldn’t do anything to help.”
Since the drama aired it is believed a further 50 people affected have come forward, and hundreds wrongly convicted in the Post Office scandal could have their names cleared this year, after emergency legislation was announced to swiftly exonerate and compensate victims.