Eastbourne sub-postmistress speaks out about Horizon ordeal

Kathleen Crane
Mrs Crane's lawyer said the sub-postmistress had "suffered in silence" since her conviction

A former sub-postmistress who "suffered in silence" for years after she was wrongfully convicted in 2010 has spoken out about her ordeal.

Kathleen Crane, who ran a branch in Eastbourne, was ordered to repay more than £18,000 and given a 12-month community order when she was convicted of fraud.

She was prosecuted based on evidence from the faulty Horizon IT system.

After her conviction was quashed last week, she said her stomach "dropped".

Mrs Crane said it was something she thought she'd never hear.

She was one of hundreds of sub-postmasters who were convicted after the Post Office's defective Horizon accounting system produced figures which suggested money was missing from their branches.

She said: "I spent hours in the post office on my knees trying to figure out where it had gone. So I got in touch with them. Nobody came.

"And then one morning I think - oh months and months after I rang them - someone arrived, counted the money and said 'yes, it's wrong'.

"I said 'well I've been telling you this'.

"[They] shut the post office and that was it. Out I went."

Eastbourne Old Town Post Office
Mrs Crane was sub-postmistress at the Old Town Post Office in Eastbourne

Speaking of the moment her conviction was overturned, Mrs Crane said: "I don't think it's sunk in yet. But when he said it was quashed, I just think my stomach just dropped and it's something you never think you're going to hear.

"And the following morning when I woke up, I thought did that really happen yesterday."

During the appeal hearing Flora Page, who represented Mrs Crane, said that she had "suffered in silence" since her conviction.

Former sub-postmistress Kathleen Crane outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London, with her daughters, Lucy (left) and Katy (right)
Three appeal judges ruled there was no doubt Mrs Crane's conviction was unsafe

At her court hearing, three appeal judges ruled there was no doubt Mrs Crane's conviction was unsafe, adding she was "kept in ignorance" over defects in the Horizon system.

Her daughter has called for those responsible to be held accountable. Katy Crane said: "They should feel what it felt like for her - terrified that she was going to go to jail. I think they need to feel how that felt."

After Mrs Crane was cleared, a Post Office spokesman said: "We are deeply sorry for past wrongs and are doing all we can to put these right, including extensive work to support overturning wrongful convictions.

"We continue to work with the government to support efforts to speed up the exoneration of people with wrongful convictions and ensure compensation is paid."

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