A FORMER post office worker, who said he had his life torn apart due to faulty Post Office software, has had his testimony read at a national inquiry.

A Government inquiry has been hearing the witness statements of victims of the Post Office Horizon scandal.

It saw 736 sub-postmasters and mistresses impacted after the Post Office’s faulty accountancy software, Horizon, appeared to show the victims had money missing.

It led to some postmasters being sent to prison or left them financially ruined and with a stain on their character.

One such victim was Graham Ward who ran the Rivenhall post office from 2002 to 2008 and the Feering post office from 2005 to 2008.

In his witness statement to the inquiry, Mr Ward said he was accused of numerous shortfalls, the first costing him nearly £1,400 in 2005.

Each shortfall saw Mr Ward have to repay sums of money or had earnings removed from his wages.

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Following repeated shortfalls Mr Ward was also threatened with prosecution if he didn’t pay the Post Office back.

Following this, he was audited and suspended before his job was terminated.

Mr Ward says the experience cost him about £110,000.

He said he was forced to sell his shop, which was also his home, and says the false claims also led to his marriage of 13 years breaking down.

In the witness impact hearing, David Enright, who is representing many sub-postmasters, said: “He has been labelled a thief. The Post Office trainers told the new owners of the Post Office Mr Ward had stolen money from the Post Office.

“Mr Ward ended up with an Individual Voluntary Arrangement for six years. He is no longer confident and does not feel worthy and good enough.”

In a statement read by Mr Enright, Mr Ward added: “I would like to think that the shortfalls were accidental and the Post Office didn’t know how to get out, so let it run.

“I don’t want Post Office Limited employees going to jail as that would not be fair on their kids. I don’t want another family to go through what my family has gone through.”

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In response, a spokesman for the Post Office said: "Whilst it is not appropriate to comment on any individual cases, Post Office is in no doubt of the human cost of the Horizon scandal and we are doing all we can to address this.

"The inquiry’s hearings enable many of those who were most deeply affected by Post Office’s past failings to voice their experiences,

"Their testimonies must and will ensure all lessons are learned so that such events can never happen again.

"We have made interim payments of £100,000 to each of the majority of people whose convictions have been overturned and we are working on final settlements as swiftly as possible. 

"Separately, for other postmasters, we have made offers to more than a third who applied to the Historical Shortfall Scheme."