'It destroyed him': Horizon scandal victims who never saw justice before death

ITV News Correspondent Geraint Vincent heard from three families for whom the truth can only repair some of the damage

The terrible miscarriage of justice at the heart of the Post Office scandal is only some of the way to being put right.

Hundreds of people are still waiting for their criminal convictions to be overturned, many more are yet to receive compensation for the livelihoods they lost.

But there are some victims of the scandal who will never know the relief of having their name cleared, the stigma officially washed away. They are the people who died before justice was done.

Bill Quarm was a sub-postmaster who had his conviction for embezzlement overturned last year. He died of cancer in 2012.

Ask his widow, Anne, what effect the conviction had on him and her answer is short, simple and devastating. "It destroyed him," she says.

Peter Holmes took over a post office in Newcastle after a career spent in the police force. To avoid going to jail, he pleaded guilty to false accounting in 2010.

His conviction was quashed in 2021, six years after his death. His widow Marion describes his gradual decline as he was lost to his family. "He just turned in on himself," she says.

Justice came too late for Sue Beacock as well. She bought a post office in Dorset with her mother, Kathleen - who was herself an experienced subpostmistress.

Nine years later, Sue was wrongfully dismissed for false accounting. Kathleen died thinking her daughter was a thief.

"I can never tell her that it wasn't me - it was the system," Sue weeps. "She will never know."

Hundreds of sub-postmasters and postmistresses were wrongly convicted due to the Horizon scandal. Credit: PA

People who take over the running of their local post office tend to have a sense of community.

Sitting at their counters, they were the face of what for many of their neighbours was a vital public service.

It is little wonder that after being found guilty of abusing their positions of trust - they were consumed by the shame.

Some compensation has been received and the Post Office says it is working as fast as it can to make payments to people who have been waiting many years for justice.

But what amount of money can compensate a family life ruined by a wrongful conviction? What restitution can be made to someone who died before justice was done? Some wounds can never heal.

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