Campaigner welcomes latest twist in saga over Post Office's disgraced Horizon IT system

A former postmaster wrongly accused of theft as part of a nationwide scandal has welcomed the saga’s latest twist as a “massive step forward”.

Friday, 2nd October 2020, 4:34 pm
Christopher Head, former postmaster at West Boldon Post Office, has welcomed the latest development in the long-running saga over the Post Office's disgraced Horizon IT system.

Campaigner Christopher Head estimates his ordeal with the Post Office and its disgraced Horizon IT system has left him £250,000 out of pocket.

Mr Head, 32, who ran West Boldon Post Office from 2006-2015, was quizzed under caution over the supposed disappearance of £88,000 before the investigation was dropped without charge.

Dozens of similar cases, however, were taken to court with some postmasters even jailed before the Horizon’s accounting flaws were finally exposed.

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Now the Post Office has apologised for its “historical failings” and confirmed it will not oppose 44 appeals against convictions.

Mr Head, who was one of the youngest postmasters nationally when he took over at West Boldon aged 18, said: “It is a massive step in the right direction and I’m happy for the people involved that they are closer to having their names cleared.

"But there is still a long way to go for us all before we get a proper inquiry to address all the issues such as why it has taken so long for the Post Office to admit they were wrong.”

Post Office chairman Tim Parker said on October 2: "I am sincerely sorry on behalf of the Post Office for historical failings which seriously affected some postmasters.

"Post Office is resetting its relationship with postmasters with reforms that prevent such past events ever happening again.”

While Mr Head was never prosecuted, he was still pursued for the £88,000 – which he refused to pay – and was part of a successful £58m compensation claim by around 550 postmasters against the Post Office.

Yet he has so far received only £29,000 and is backing campaigns to force the Post Office into paying the action’s £46m cost and for an independent judge-led inquiry.

Mr Head, from West Boldon, now rebuilding his life as a supervisor for distribution giant Amazon, said: “People are fine now although at the time there were some who thought there was no smoke without fire.

"I am in no doubt it also cost me jobs before the outcome came out with people looking at my CV and wondering what that was all about.”

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