A subpostmaster who was “bankrupted by the actions of the Post Office” has told the Horizon IT inquiry he will see any prosecuted parties in court following the death of his wife.
The inquiry’s chairman, Sir Wyn Williams, announced the death of Veronica Maye on Wednesday – with her husband issuing a statement saying he believed the Post Office was “trying to kick the can down the road until we are all dead.”
Mrs Maye developed angina as the couple lost their home and were made bankrupt in October 2012 after they tried to repay alleged shortfalls and make good balances on the Horizon system.
The inquiry heard Mrs Maye’s 73-year-old husband, Francis Maye, had received an interim compensation payment just before Christmas, but his trustee in bankruptcy took “a lot of that award”.
However, in December 2019, a High Court judge ruled that the system contained a number of “bugs, errors and defects” and there was a “material risk” that shortfalls in Post Office branch accounts were in fact caused by it.
Since then many SPMs have had criminal convictions overturned.
Following the death of his wife, Mr Maye issued a statement through Sam Stein KC, who represents 153 victims in the scandal, in which he said he wanted senior people at the Post Office and developer Fujitsu would be “held to account and taken to court”.
Speaking about the death of Mrs Maye before making his phase three closing speech, Mr Stein said: “Veronica’s health was affected by the financial state that was left for her and her husband to deal with after they were made bankrupt by the actions of the Post Office.
“Francis says when they lost their home as a result of the Post Office’s actions, Veronica worked multiple jobs to maintain them.
“He found it extremely difficult to get any work anywhere because the Post Office wouldn’t give him a reference.”
Reading extracts of Mr Maye’s statement following his wife’s death, Mr Stein continued: “He’s not in good health but he would like to be able to live as comfortably as possible in his final years.
“He says ‘I’d like the senior people at the Post Office and Fujitsu to be held to account and taken to court. They knew the system was wrong’.
“He knows that he and other litigants and core participants are in good hands with this inquiry, but he feels the Post Office is trying to ‘kick the can down the road until we are all dead’.
“The deadline for compensation of August 2024 is plain wrong’, he says.
“He believes that the Post Office should not be able to set that date.
“Everything is always dictated by the Post Office, that’s the way he feels.
“‘If any of the leaders of the Post Office are taken to court, I will be at the court’, he says.
“He hopes that doesn’t sound vicious, but he hopes that the little man will win out in the end.”
Phase four of the inquiry, which will look into the prosecutions of SPMs, is set to begin on June 6.