Post Office Inquiry: Paula Vennells apologies to victims of Post office Scandal - “I’m very, very sorry”

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Watch as Paula Vennells turned her chair to face subpostmasters and said she was sorry for everything they had “suffered”.

Paula Vennells, former Post Office CEO, apologised to the victims of the Post Office Scandal on her first day of giving evidence to the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry on May 22.

Vennells said she had been ‘very affected’ by victim impact statements and offered to stand with a victim outside their old Post Office to explain to people what had happened.

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In an opening statement, Vennells said: “I would just like to say, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to do this in person, how sorry I am for all that subpostmasters and their families and others who suffered as a result of all of the matters that the inquiry has been looking into for so long.

“I followed and listened to all of the human impact statements, and I was very affected by them. I remember listening to one postmaster whose name I noted, who said that he would like somebody to go and stand outside his old Post Office with him so he could tell them exactly what he’d been through. I would do that. I’m very, very sorry.

“I would also like to repeat the apology which is in my witness statement to Alan Bates, to Ron Warmington and Ian Henderson from Second Sight and to Lord Arbuthnot. I and those I worked with made their work so much harder, and I’m very, very sorry for that.

“My third apology is really about today because I will answer the questions truthfully, and I'm very aware that they will be difficult to listen to, for you and for me, and I ask your understanding in advance of that. Thank you."

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Paula Vennells apologies to Post Office Scandal victims.Paula Vennells apologies to Post Office Scandal victims.
Paula Vennells apologies to Post Office Scandal victims. | Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry

From 1999 to 2015, more than 900 sub-postmasters were prosecuted over accounting shortfalls which were caused by the Post Office’s faulty Horizon IT system. Paula Vennells was chief executive of the Post Office from 2012 to 2019.

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After ITV drama Mr Bates vs The Post Office aired in January, more than one million people signed a petition for Paula Vennells to be stripped of her CBE. Vennells officially lost her CBE on February 23 after saying she would return the honour.

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