Former subpostmaster Lee Castleton says Paula Vennells will 'never' shed tears like victims

A subpostmaster who was a victim of the Horizon scandal has said the Post Office's former boss Paula Vennells will “never” shed as many tears as he has.

Ms Vennells broke down in tears as she gave evidence to the Inquiry in central London on Wednesday, 22 May.

Lee Castleton, from Bridlington, East Yorkshire, was pursued over a £25,000 shortfall at his branch in 2004 that he didn't steal.

He had tried to inform the Post Office when he noticed a glitch in the computer software, but said they didn’t seem to care.

He was made bankrupt after he lost his legal battle with the Post Office.

Asked about Ms Vennells breaking down in tears, Mr Castleton said: “She’ll never shed as many as I have, I’m afraid, or my family, or the rest of the victims or the wider group.

“Not that I have no empathy for that because I do, I understand completely.

“I’d imagine a lot of it’s nerves too and doing her best. I think she’s got a need or want to do the right thing.”

Lee Castleton was portrayed by actor Will Mellor in the ITV drama Mr Bates vs The Post Office.

Speaking about Ms Vennells’ evidence, he said: “She’s got a huge opportunity to get what she sees as the truth out there.

“I think it’s a huge stage for her, I think the paperwork is fantastic, to see what was being written at the time it’s really, really important for us to see that. And what she remembers really is kind of a background for me, the actual verbal evidence is not really that important.”

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

Ms Vennells admitted she had "made mistakes" but denied there was a conspiracy to cover up the decades-long scandal.

She opened her evidence to the inquiry by telling all impacted sub-postmasters and sub-postmistresses: "I am very, very sorry.

"I would like to say how sorry I am for all the sub-postmasters and their families who have suffered as a result of all that the inquiry has been looking into for so long."

Ms Vennells added she "followed and listened to all the human impact statements" of sub-postmasters and was "very affected by them", before apologising specifically to campaigner Alan Bates.

Her first day of evidence at the Horizon IT inquiry opened with inquiry chair Sir Wyn Williams reading her a "public" warning about self-incrimination. It was heard one of her witness statements is 775 pages long.

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