Post Office victims say exoneration and compensation 'can't make up for lives ruined' by scandal

ITV News' Paul Brand speaks to three victims of the Horizon scandal who detail how the faulty software took away decades of their lives - some of those behind bars

As legislation to exonerate all sub-postmasters who were wrongly convicted during the Post Office Horizon scandal is introduced, victims say compensation and being declared innocent can't make up for the lives that have been ruined.

In the past 25 years, there have been few moments of hope for those caught up in the Post Office scandal.

But, today, Rishi Sunak said a new law would be introduced so people wrongly convicted in the scandal are “swiftly exonerated and compensated”.

Parmod Kalia was wrongly accused of stealing £22,000 and sent to prison. Credit: ITV News

In South London, Parmod Kalia was wrongly accused of stealing £22,000 and sent to prison.

He is still checking he qualifies for compensation - the government assures ITV News he will.

Though the bigger win is the trust of his daughter and her siblings - who once questioned him.

He told ITV News: "It is 21 years of my life that I have lost.

"They doubted me, they questioned me. My daughter asked me if I had taken the money and I had no answers. I didn't blame the computer system, because I didn't know where it had gone.

"When we were watching the drama together - she actually apologised to me. She said sorry we doubted you.

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"I did say to her you don't need to apologise. It wasn't your wrongdoing but thank you anyway. And now they believe that I didn't take the money - I'm not a thief."

Lee Castleton was one of those listening to Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday as Mr Sunak vowed that he "will make sure that the truth comes to light, we right the wrongs of the past and the victims get the justice they deserve.”

Mr Castleton's own story needs no dramatisation but he is played by actor Will Mellor in the ITV series that detailed the scandal - now his story may finally have an ending.

He said: "I'm glad that things are moving swiftly, I just worry that the exonerations will be sweeping and across the board - and people having been taken to court individually and their names splashed across local press as criminals, won't get the chance to be heard as individuals."

If you, or someone you know, has been affected by the Post Office IT Scandal - you can get in touch with your story. Email our specialist team - .

Lee Castleton was portrayed by actor Will Mellor in the ITV drama, Mr Bates V the Post Office. Credit: ITV News

The Post Office scandal wrongly accused more than 700 post office workers of stealing - all because of faulty IT software. 

Errors in the faulty accounting software made by Fujitsu sparked the scandal. The 'Horizon' system made it look like money was disappearing from Post Office branches, with the blame then falling at the feet of those running them.

Between 1999 and 2015, hundreds of workers were wrongly accused of theft, fraud and faulty accounting.

Many involved went to prison, others had to make large payouts as a result and in some tragic cases, former workers took their own lives.

Karen Jolliffe said she had felt like 'driving into the central reservation on a motorway' after the scandal ruined her life. Credit: ITV News

Some, like Karen Jolliffe in Hampshire, are still coming forward, following the ITV drama to see if they qualify for compensation.

She tried to balance the amount they said she had taken, using £62,000 of her own savings, but she was still sentenced to a year in prison.

Karen said: "I felt like driving into the central reservation when driving on the motorway on the way home on a Wednesday night, that is what I felt like.

"I had my grandson who was eight at the time being bullied at school because of this. And everyone knew once it was in the paper.

"It was harder for my family because they were there facing it, while I was in prison."

Everyone ITV News spoke to said exoneration and compensation will help - but money can't make up for the misery of so many lives ruined.

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