Ex-Post Office boss who accused subpostmasters of having ‘their hand in the till’ under fresh fire

Business

A former Post Office boss has said he wanted “most strongly” to record his personal apology to branch managers impacted by the Horizon IT scandal.

As managing director of the group from 2006 to 2010, Alan Cook was at the helm when about 200 prosecutions were brought against subpostmasters.

Hundreds of people were wrongly convicted of stealing after bugs and errors in the Horizon accounting system made it appear as though money was missing at their branches.

Victims faced prison and financial ruin, others were ostracised by their communities, while some took their own lives.

Fresh attention was brought to the scandal after ITV broadcast the drama Mr Bates Vs The Post Office, prompting government action.

Mr Cook told the Post Office inquiry on Friday: “I wonder… if I could just say before we get started, I’d like to put on record most strongly my personal apology and sympathies with all subpostmasters their families and those affected by this.

“As we get into the conversation, obviously, there will be an opportunity for me to elaborate but it just felt to me that was an important thing to say upfront.”

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