‘This can never happen again’ – MP names Anglesey postmasters in Parliament after historic wrongful convictions

THE MP for Ynys Môn has named in Parliament two innocent Anglesey postmasters who were victims of a large-scale miscarriage of justice involving a faulty IT system.

Virginia Crosbie said it was important that Margery Lorraine Williams and Noel Thomas were mentioned in the House of Commons as being innocent of any crime after their convictions were quashed by the Court of Appeal last week.

A total of 39 postmasters had their fraud and theft convictions overturned by the court after they were wrongly convicted due to the IT system installed by the Post Office called Horizon.

The UK Government has launched an inquiry into what went wrong. It is thought more than 700 postmasters were wrongly convicted of offences between 2000 and 2014.

During questions at the Post Office Court of Appeal Judgment, Mrs Crosbie said: “Margery Lorraine Williams and Noel Thomas, both from my Ynys Môn constituency, were among those who had their lives turned upside down by this appalling miscarriage of justice.

“Does the Minister agree that postmasters such as Ian Ashworth, who runs the post office in the Chocolate Box, next to my office in Holyhead, provide vital services to our communities across the UK?

“Does he further commit that the UK Government will act to ensure that this can never happen again?”

In reply, Paul Scully, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Department for Business, said: “My honourable friend is right. We have the likes of Ian Ashworth across the country offering social value. People will be interested and want to act as postmasters only if they are confident that they have the backing of the Post Office that something like this—as happened to Noel Thomas and Margery Lorraine Williams—can never happen again.

“We need to get those answers and, through this inquiry, we need to ensure that this can never happen again.”

Speaking afterwards, Mrs Crosbie said: “These postmasters have suffered a nightmare where their good reputations have been dragged through the mud, they have been wrongly convicted and, in some cases, wrongly imprisoned.

“I felt it was right that the innocence of Noel and Margery was put on record in parliament. These victims need to have answers and we all need to have confidence such an appalling situation cannot happen again. I hope the inquiry gets to the bottom of what so badly went wrong.”

Mr Thomas helped run the Post Office in Gaerwen, Anglesey, but was jailed for nine months in 2006 after being wrongly accused of taking £48,000.

Mrs Williams from Llanddaniel Fab near Llangefni was wrongly convicted of stealing more than £14,600 in 2012. Both had their names cleared by the court.


Image shows Ian Ashworth, Postmaster at the Chocolate Box in Holyhead.

North Wales Chronicle | Anglesey