Post Office Horizon scandal: Sunderland postmaster laments 'pain' of drawn out process

  • Watch Gregg Easteal's report

A former postmaster has hit out at the Post Office for delays in receiving compensation for the Horizon IT scandal.

Pauline Stonehouse from Sunderland lost her job, her home and went bankrupt when a faulty software system wrongly made out that thousands of pounds had gone missing.

A new report has called for the Post Office and the Government to step up the compensation process and deliver payments faster. Inquiry chairman Sir Wyn Williams stated that he believes it is unlikely all applicants will be paid by the previously stated deadline - August 7 2024.

Ms Stonehouse believes she is owed over £500,000 in lost earnings which has still not been paid out after her conviction was quashed.

She said: "15/16 years on a postmaster wage. Then whatever the business would have earned in that time. Plus any private pension I would have put into. The difference in the value of the house that I lost, what I paid for it and what it would be worth now and the same for the business."

Ms Stonehouse added that the scandal had cost her more than just money with her health and marriage suffering as a result of the stress.

"It just feels like they are dragging out the process unnecessarily," she said. "They are causing more pain than they realise."

Marion Holmes from Northumberland was another person caught up in the scandal. Her husband, Peter, lost his job and his reputation as a result of Horizon's issues but died before his conviction was overturned.

She has since received compensation on his behalf but has urged the Post Office to do more to help others affected.

Marion Holmes husband Peter lost his job in the Horizon scandal. Credit: ITV

"Money won't make it go away but it will make it better for a lot of people," she said. "It's money that they should have now.

"If I hear the Post Office say one more time that they are very sorry, I'll scream because sorry doesn't cover it."

Post Office said they welcomed today's report, releasing a statement which read: "Victims of the Horizon scandal must be provided with full compensation fairly and consistently.

"This remains our priority."

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