Post Office Victim Attacks Government's Response To Scandal: 'Just Doesn't Cut It'

She also said the Post Office "don’t seem to know or care what they’ve done".
Post Office
Post Office
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A victim of the Post Office scandal just tore into the company and the government as she revealed the heartbreaking toll the saga has taken on her life – and called for more action.

Around 3,500 branch managers were falsely accused by the Post Office of theft, fraud and false accounting between 2000 and 2015, based on data collected from the company’s IT system, Horizon. Hundreds were then prosecuted.

Flaws within the software later revealed most of the accused were actually innocent, but the majority of victims are still waiting for compensation – which is why the government has jumped in.

Sarah Burgess-Boyd, a former sub-postmaster from Newcastle, revealed on Thursday how being accused – but not convicted – by the Post Office turned her life upside-down.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4′s Today programme, she said she had Post Office audit in 2009 after she had told them she had noticed a shortfall on Horizon.

She said: “I told them how it had happened, I messaged them, I faxed them, with all the details. I had the routine audit, they didn’t listen to anything I said during the audit, the audit took three days.”

Burgess-Boyd was then suspended, and went through a disciplinary process including a fraud investigation.

She was charged with theft, but she was acquitted in her trial in September 2011 as the “Post Office presented no evidence”.

Despite the acquittal, though, the former Post Office employee she said she had still “lost everything”.

“I’ve lost my business, all my savings, I haven’t got a penny to my name,” as her voice started to break during her emotional interview.

She said she was not future-proofed, had no pension provision even as she nears 60 and had “lost my reputation”.

She also criticised the process which led to her being charged, noting: “It’s not a case of ‘you are innocent until proven guilty’.

“You are guilty, and you have no opportunity to prove your innocence. They didn’t want to listen.”

She added: “When the fraud investigators came to search our house, my partner said, ‘It is clear from what you have said that you just don’t understand what has happened. You need to get help to investigate this.’

“And they just looked at him like he was stupid and walked away.

“None of the people involved were interested in coming to the root of the problem.”

Burgess-Boyd also said she had proof that she had not taken any money.

Touching on the ongoing public inquiry into the scandal, she said: “There’s still no accountability, I don’t think the questions are deep enough. I don’t even know if they’re questioning the right people.”

She accused the Post Office of slowing proceedings, too, explaining: “They seem to be absolutely incapable of just saying, ‘We got it really wrong and we’re going to put it right.’

“They don’t seem to know or care what they’ve done to hundreds of people.”

Burgess-Boyd added that the government was the same and pointed to Rishi Sunak’s new legislation to exonerate the scandal’s victims.

His offer of an upfront payment of £75,000 for the 555 sub-postmasters who took the Post Office to court in 2019 “just doesn’t cut it” she said.

She added that she wants to be installed in the same position she would have been in if the Post Office scandal had never happened.

“I would like that financial stability so that I can enjoy the rest of my life. I’ve had 15 years of living hand to mouth, and I had a thriving business. It’s all gone,” she told BBC Radio 4.

However, she did add that she – and the other victims – are finally “being heard” and she “sincerely hopes” justice will now be done.

The government has confirmed victims will be eligible for at least £600,000 compensation once they are exonerated, too.


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