Post Office scandal: Scottish sub-postmaster who tried to take own life still battling to clear name | UK News
A former Scottish sub-postmaster who attempted to take his own life after being convicted in the Post Office scandal has told Sky News he has no faith in government plans to pardon victims.
Rab Thomson, who lives in Clackmannanshire, is one of around 100 people in Scotland wrongfully given a criminal record after bogus shortfalls appeared in the faulty Horizon IT system.
Prosecutions north of the border were managed by Scotland’s independent public prosecution service, the Crown Office, as opposed to internal criminal investigations led by the Post Office in England and Wales.
Four people have had their convictions quashed in Scotland to date.
Read more stories from victims of the scandal
The 64-year-old told Sky News that trouble started brewing in the year 2000 when the newly installed IT system began generating apparent shortfalls.
The father of two said: “As the time went on, it kept going up and up to £10,000, £15,000, up to £60,000. Panic set in.”
He said he tried to take his own life, adding: “I came and told my wife that I was finished. I said ‘I can’t live with this’. Depression is a really serious thing.”
He says when his case came to court he was told to confess to the allegations minutes before appearing in front of the judge to make life “easier” for his family.
“I said: ‘No, no, no. I don’t want to plead guilty. I’ve not done anything wrong. I’ve told you this from day one.'”
It has emerged the Crown Office first became aware of possible concerns around the reliability of Horizon in 2013 but it failed to halt cases based on evidence from the system until 2015.
Louise Dar began running her local Post Office in Lenzie on the outskirts of Glasgow in 2014.
The former sub-postmistress lost everything after being hounded over claims she had stolen £44,000.
The 41-year-old was never convicted and told Sky News she believes that is because the Crown Office knew the Horizon system was flawed.
Ms Dar, who is seeking compensation, still had to pay back every penny and has racked up debts that she and her family are still tackling today.
She said: “They must have known. It’s disgusting. We sold our car to help things.
“We were just lucky we had family that have supported us. My husband and I have just battled through all of it, and we’re still fighting to get there”.
The scandal dominated discussion at the Scottish parliament on Thursday with First Minister Humza Yousaf reaffirming his commitment to exonerate victims in a joined-up UK-wide approach with Rishi Sunak.
The issue remains a devolved matter and would require a “legislative consent motion” to grant Westminster permission to pass any legislation.
What is the Post Office scandal?
Investigators ‘offered bonuses’ to prosecute sub-postmasters
Battling for vindication
Mr Thomson is still fighting to clear his name. The former sub-postmaster is due in court on Friday for a hearing in his long-running quest to overturn his conviction.
He said: “I was at the doctor’s yesterday and they have upped my tablets again because I’m getting thoughts of it all.
“I’m getting thoughts because the pressure is really mounting on me now, especially with the government coming out and saying that they are going to look into and overturn them.
“But I’ve still got to go to court. Until we get an answer to say everything’s abolished, I’ve got to live with it. I’m still under that pressure.”
The head of the Crown Office, the Lord Advocate, is in talks to appear in front of MSPs in Holyrood to make a statement on the scandal.
Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email email@example.com in the UK. In the US, call the Samaritans branch in your area or 1 (800) 273-TALK