The widow of the Post Office victim is devastated that he passed away without being able to clear his name, she expresses being tormented.

Exclusive: Vivienne Hammond reveals that she discovered her late husband’s secret suffering over a span of 20 years by watching the ITV drama on the Post Office Horizon scandal.

The widow of a post office operator accused of misappropriating funds in the scandal expresses her anguish that her husband passed away before his innocence could be proven.

Hammond, 88, expresses her trauma upon realizing the torment her husband must have endured in silence for two decades, as depicted in the TV series Mr Bates vs the Post Office. The scandal wrongly accused more than 2,500 post office operators of theft due to a glitch in the accounting software.

In light of this dramatization, there are renewed calls for the exoneration of the victims. While much attention has rightfully been focused on those who were wrongly convicted or lost their jobs, Hammond highlights the pain and humiliation endured by the hundreds of others who were forced to repay money they never stole.

Hammond shares that her husband never confided in her about what he went through. She is tormented by the thought that the stress might have contributed to his subsequent cancer diagnosis. She laments her inability to support him during his ordeal.

Dennis Hammond, a village post office operator for two decades, was blamed for a cash shortfall of approximately £3,000 shortly after the installation of the Horizon system. The deducted amount was taken from his wages.

Hammond recalls that her husband mentioned an unfriendly visit from the usually amiable auditor and missing money but never spoke of it again. She assumed there had been a mistake that was eventually rectified.

It wasn’t until 2021, when she learned of the plight of other postmasters, that Hammond realized her husband had fallen victim to Horizon as well. By then, it was too late to offer him any assistance as he had already passed away.

Hammond attempted to seek justice for her husband by contacting the Horizon shortfall scheme established in 2021 to compensate affected postal operators. However, she was informed that she had missed the deadline for applications. The scheme closed to new applicants six months after its initial launch during the first lockdown in 2020. She expresses frustration about not being informed of the compensation scheme during her husband’s battle with cancer.

Following the Guardian’s coverage of her situation, the Post Office announced that it would consider claims submitted after the deadline. Hammond has since received compensation on behalf of her husband, but only after signing a non-disclosure agreement. She emphasizes that her pursuit was driven by the principle of clearing her husband’s name rather than monetary gain. She wishes to acknowledge that her husband was wrongly accused and that the other victims, who have not received media attention, are individuals with their own stories of pain.

Hammond now grapples with feelings of anger towards the Post Office for betraying her trust and guilt for not recognizing her husband’s predicament. While her daughters cannot bear to watch the ITV drama due to its emotional impact, Hammond believes it is important to understand the suffering endured by all the victims. She regrets not having the opportunity to inform her late husband that she now understands his experience, that she has done everything she can to support him belatedly, and that his name has been cleared.

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