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4th Dec, 2021

Post Office scandal: Redditch widow speaks after husband Julian Wilson's vindication - "he was never a criminal"

Harry Leach 26th Apr, 2021

“I’M crying with one eye and happy with the other” – the words of Redditch widow Karen Wilson after seeing her husband’s name finally cleared following a 13-year battle with the Post Office.

Karen stood tall with family and friends outside London’s Court of Appeal last week, when false accounting charges against 39 ex-Post Office workers were overturned.

Among those vindicated was her husband, Julian, who sadly died of cancer in 2016 before seeing his name cleared.

The couple ran Astwood Bank Post Office on Evesham Road from 2001 to 2008, at the time hoping to build up the business and fund their retirement.

But their lives came crashing down when he was wrongly blamed, along with hundreds of other sub-postmasters, of stealing money when Julian’s 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.

Karen, who told the Standard last year that she wouldn’t stop until Julian was exonerated, said: “We did it – this is not about compensation, I couldn’t care less about that, it’s about justice.

“I can’t explain it, when you’ve taken on a fight like this for 13-years and a big institution is telling you you’re wrong…(luckily) all the judges have said that my husband was right.

“He used to say to me, ‘I feel like I’ve got a ball and chain, with an anchor round my leg and I’m dragging it over a stormy sea and I want someone to cut if free.”

The emotional widow said that despite being a ‘forgiving woman’, she will never forgive the Post Office for the scandal.

“He had been transparent and honest (with the Post Office), given them all the details, all the facts.

“At the time he couldn’t get a job, so I had three jobs. I sold everything that he’d ever bought me; my engagement ring, all my jewellery. I didn’t tell him.

“His health deteriorated after he was suspended in 2008. I think the stress contributed. He may have still got cancer but I think it contributed.”

Karen added it’s a tragedy that a ‘good man was taken away from her’ and his wonderful daughter, Emma, before he was vindicated.

“She has been by my side throughout,” she said.

Post Office chairman Tim Parker apologised for the scandal, believed be the largest miscarriage of justice ever in the UK.

“The Post Office is extremely sorry for the impact on the lives of these postmasters and their families that was caused by historical failures,” he said.

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