Posted by Richard Willett - Memes and headline comments by David Icke Posted on 23 May 2024

Furious ex-postmasters accuse Christian priest ‘boss’ who destroyed their lives of making a ‘PR apology’

Former Post Office boss Paula Vennells today slammed campaigner Alan Bates as being ‘unhelpful’ after he blamed the Post Office for the suicide of a wrongly accused postmaster.

The 65-year-old businesswoman took to the witness box today at the Horizon IT public inquiry into why hundreds of branch managers were wrongly prosecuted amid claims they stole from the business.

Hundreds of subpostmasters were prosecuted by the Post Office between 1999 and 2015 after Horizon, owned by Japanese company Fujitsu, made it appear as though money was missing at their branches.

The scandal was deemed the most widespread miscarriage of justice in British legal history, while Ms Vennells’ central role in it was portrayed in ITV‘s acclaimed drama series Mr Bates Vs The Post Office, sparking public anger at what happened.

Ms Vennells, who was chief executive at the company from 2012 to 2019, began her evidence issuing a grovelling apology to victims of the scandal, saying she was ‘very, very sorry’ – which one postmaster later described as a ‘PR apology’.

At one point during the inquiry, Ms Vennells broke down in tears as she was asked about her response to the death of Martin Griffiths, a subpostmaster who died by suicide after he was wrongly accused of fraud.

Ms Vennells described campaigner Alan Bates’ accusations of blame against the Post Office after Mr Griffiths’ death as being ‘unhelpful’ and claimed his language directed at Post Office staff, accusing them of ‘thuggery’, was ‘extreme’.

The inquiry was shown an email exchange in September 2013, prompted by the incident involving Mr Griffiths’, in which he pointed out that the Post Office had ‘driven him to suicide’.

An email from Mr Bates criticising the Post Office after Mr Griffiths had stepped in front of the bus was shown.

In the email, Mr Bates said Mr Griffiths’s case was a ‘prime example of the thuggery being exerted on defenceless subpostmasters’ as he was said to have been denied legal representation during a meeting by ‘arrogant and uncontrolled Post Office personnel’.

In response Ms Vennells said the campaigner was ‘rightly very, very angry about this’, but his language about her colleagues ‘was extreme’.

Jason Beer KC asked: ‘You say in your statement that ‘this was a time of great distress for Mr Griffiths’s family, and I felt the accusations of blame were unhelpful’… is that right that you felt that Mr Bates’s accusations of blame were unhelpful?’

Ms Vennells responded: ‘I think at this stage some of those accusations of blame were unhelpful, yes, because the Post Office needed to respond to this properly and at that stage, I had no understanding as to what had gone on.’

Read More: Paula Vennells slams ‘unhelpful’ Alan Bates after he blamed Post Office for wrongly accused postmaster’s suicide

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