Family of late Post Office sufferer win battle to clear her title | EUROtoday

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By Katie Hunter, BBC Scotland News

BBC Caren and David LorimerBBC

Caren Lorimer’s husband David mentioned he was sorry she by no means lived lengthy sufficient to see her title cleared

The household of a convicted sub-postmistress who died earlier than her title was cleared say they’ve made her ultimate want come true.

Caren Lorimer’s household took on her case after her dying from most cancers in April 2022.

They had been anticipating to be again in courtroom this week however her conviction was quashed before anticipated.

Caren’s husband David Lorimer mentioned it “meant the world to him” however he was unhappy that his late spouse had died earlier than she was exonerated.

Caren had labored within the New Farm Loch Post Office in Kilmarnock for 17 years earlier than an audit in 2008 uncovered an obvious £38,000 shortfall.

She pled responsible to embezzlement to keep away from going to jail.

At the time Caren had a four-year-old son and an grownup daughter.

In 2009, she was sentenced to 300 hours of neighborhood service and compelled to pay the Post Office £15,000.

She was certainly one of a whole lot of individuals throughout the UK falsely accused of crimes like theft and false accounting.

The Horizon Post Office scandal has been described as essentially the most widespread miscarriage of justice within the UK in current occasions.

Caren’s household had been hoping her title could be cleared at a courtroom listening to on Friday however her niece, Joanne Hughes, obtained an electronic mail from the household’s lawyer ten days in the past.

To her delight it confirmed her aunt’s conviction had been quashed.

David Lorimer (husband); Joanne Hughes (niece); Laura Miller (daughter); Jack Lorimer (son)

(From left to proper) David Lorimer, Caren’s niece Joanne Hughes, daughter Laura Miller and son Jack Lorimer mentioned the outcome meant the world to the household

Joanne mentioned: “The first thing I did was call David and I don’t even think I said hello, I just said ‘That’s it, she’s clear, she’s clear!’

“I feel we each had goosebumps.

“It’s like we’ve made her final wish come true, which is priceless.”

David mentioned it was wonderful however that his feelings had been up and down.

He added: “I’m really, really happy and I’m really sad that Caren’s not here but she’ll know. She’ll know.

“She’d be so pleased with every little thing we’ve accomplished her. She’ll be blissful up there simply now.”

Caren’s name would likely have been cleared by Scottish Parliament legislation automatically exonerating all affected sub-postmasters.

The new law will come into force in Scotland once the bill receives royal assent.

But Caren’s family had already started the process to have her conviction quashed in the appeal court.

She is the seventh person in Scotland to have their name cleared through that route.

While Caren’s family are delighted her conviction has been quashed they say it is bittersweet.

Caren and Laura

Caren and her daughter Laura

Caren’s daughter Laura Miller was 25 when her mum was convicted.

She told BBC Scotland News it was extremely important for her mother’s name to be cleared.

Laura said: “I discover it most upsetting that she died a convicted prison.

“That can’t be undone. I’m happy she’s exonerated but she died a convicted criminal.

“Something my mum hadn’t accomplished and she or he’s taken it along with her.”

She said her mother would be delighted that her name had been cleared.

Laura added: “She knew all alongside she’d accomplished nothing incorrect. So did we.

“Now it’s just the proof that she really didn’t do it.”

In Scotland the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) had sole duty for prosecuting Horizon instances, whereas in England the Post Office may act as prosecutor.

The COPFS knew in 2013 there have been potential issues with the Post Office Horizon IT system and it formally stopped prosecuting instances in 2015.

But it didn’t overview historic convictions like Caren’s.

A COPFS spokesman mentioned they empathised with those that had suffered from injustice.

He added: “Scotland’s prosecutors acted in good faith upon evidence presented to them.

“When Horizon prosecutions stopped, we had been assured {that a} additional overview of instances wouldn’t reveal miscarriages of justice.

“It was only following the litigation in England in 2019 that the true and full extent of the issues with the Horizon system came to light.

“The actions of the Post Office are being examined in a public inquiry and investigated by police.”

A Post Office spokesperson said: “We apologise unreservedly to victims of the Horizon IT Scandal and our focus stays on supporting the continued public inquiry to determine the reality of what occurred so these affected can obtain the justice and redress they deserve.”