Former Alderley Edge sub-postmaster amongst those still awaiting compensation

A former Alderley Edge sub-postmaster was amongst 700 prosecuted by the Post Office for theft and false accounting which they had not committed and was instead the consequence of a computer software system that made numerous errors.

Scott Darlington was sub-postmaster in the village from 2005 to 2010 before losing his job and being prosecuted for a shortfall.

In April 2021 he finally had his name cleared by the Court of Appeal, having been falsely accused of theft.

However, like hundreds of other sub-postmasters and sub-postmistresses who were victims of the 'biggest miscarriage of justice' in British history he still hasn't received his compensation, apart from an interim payment.

The Court of Appeal overturned the convictions of 39 former sub-postmasters and sub-postmistresses on April 23rd 2021. Referring to Mr Darlington's case the court ruled "His convictions are unsafe. Notwithstanding his guilty pleas, we quash his convictions on all five counts."

Scott previously told "A discrepancy occurred in 2008 of £1700 which I had to pay back although I knew something wasn't right. Later on that year larger discrepancies occurred until Jan 2009 when I was audited, suspended and subsequently terminated. It was an absolute nightmare to say the least. I was given a 3 month prison sentence suspended for 2 years."

Whilst some of the sub-postmasters were asked to make up the shortfalls, which ran into tens of thousands of pounds for some, others had criminal charges brought against them, had to pay fines, lost their homes, 239 were sent to jail and four tragically killed themselves.

On 1 February 2010, in the Crown Court at Chester, Mr Darlington pleaded guilty to five counts of false accounting. On 23 February 2010, he was sentenced to a total of three months' imprisonment suspended for 12 months, with a requirement to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work. Of the alleged £44,508.46 shortfall, he paid £9,000 from his own wages.

Speaking to in 2017, Scott Darlington said "This had untold consequences for me. I could not find a job for 3 and a half years. I almost lost my house. I suffered depression etc I was living off virtually no money during this time. I was headline news in the Manchester Evening News and Macclesfield Express.

"I felt everybody in Alderley believed I had been stealing and was so embarrassed by that. I am now living in Bollington and working at last. But this nightmare has continued for 9 years and is finally coming to a conclusion."

A spokesperson for Nexus Chambers, who represented the former Alderley Edge sub-postmaster said "Scott Darlington lost his job and good name. He was shamed by local press coverage and was unable to get another job for 3 and half years because of this conviction.

"He suffered weight loss and stress, his family suffered because of his inability to work, he was unable to provide for his child as he would have wanted. He has had to deal with this for years as he fought to clear his name."

The national scandal is now headline news following the ITV drama Mr Bates v The Post Office renewing public interest in the scandal resulting in demands for former Post Office CEO Paula Vennells to have her CBE withdrawn and increasing pressure on the government for all sub-postmasters and sub-postmistresses to be clearly and justice to be served.

Speaking with Scott Darlington this week, he told me "Yes it's all blown up at last ! Because of the TV drama.

"The response to the TV drama has been amazing. Far greater than I expected to be honest. This has really helped a lot."

"I think it's clear the government has to put something in place to overturn all the outstanding convictions otherwise it will take another ten years to do that at the current pace.

"We all need a decent compensation amount so we can move forward without the financial difficulties we have all had to endure. Then the perpetrators need to be brought to account otherwise it won't feel like justice."

Scott added "I would like to think that everybody in Alderley is still on my side after the TV drama and hopefully I can come into the village with my head held high."



Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Alan R Davies
Monday 8th January 2024 at 3:47 pm
Good luck Scott, hope you get the compensation you deserve.
Diana Bullock
Tuesday 9th January 2024 at 9:27 am
You were a great postmaster, Scott, and I could not believe you were found to be guilty. You were always very helpful and efficient.
Catherine Ferns
Tuesday 9th January 2024 at 10:51 am
I and many others in this village believed in you! It must have been so frightening…. Let’s hope you get your well deserved compensation soon Scott…& all the best for the future.
Tony Haluradivth
Tuesday 9th January 2024 at 12:09 pm
Scott you were a lovely postmaster, I never believed in their trumped up charges concerning you for one minute. Unfortunately newspapers closed comments on the case at the time citing "sub judice" so we could not stick up for you. Looking forward to seeing Vennels, Jenkins et al' in the Dock and sent down for this.
Kristina Hulme
Tuesday 9th January 2024 at 12:38 pm
We at Travel by Design always believed you Scott and you were a brilliant subpostmaster in Alderley Edge all those years ago. Pleased to hear you are ok and living in nearby Bollington. We hope you get the compensation you rightly deserve
Now Retired Kristina and Anthony Hulme
Joan Wright
Tuesday 9th January 2024 at 12:39 pm
Hi Scott, absolutely delighted for you, we never met anyone in Alderley who thought you had taken that money! Surely you'd have bought some designer clothes, haha! Hope you get a massive payout and all the best for your future. Joan and Derek.
Donald Strathdee
Tuesday 9th January 2024 at 12:48 pm
The only satisfactory solution to this disgraceful event will be the day we see Vennels and others sent to prison.
Robin Pye
Tuesday 9th January 2024 at 12:51 pm
I came to the village in 2017. The only stories I have heard about Scott have been positive. Scott wonders whether he can come into the village and hold his head high. There is no doubt in my mind that he can. It is others who must now hang their heads in shame. I'm ashamed to say that one of them is a priest in the Church of England. But she is not the only one. It looks very likely that the enquiry will reveal that many powerful people had a hand in this outrageous miscarriage of justice, failing to put it right even though they had opportunity to do so.
Peter Wright
Tuesday 9th January 2024 at 3:51 pm
Hope you get the compensation that yourself and all the other postmasters truly deserve.
Paula Vennells should have been stripped of her CBE before she had chance to return it, then at the very least be charged with perjury.
David Hadfield
Wednesday 10th January 2024 at 5:54 am
Scott, you were a great Postmaster, always pleasant, always polite and always cheerful with a smile for everyone. We all knew you were innocent and hopefully when you come into the village once again you will be pleased and delighted with the reception you'll receive from everyone here.

How can you ever be compensated for all those years of worry, hurt and embarrassment, but at least this is now all behind you ... Well Done Scott.
David Carey
Wednesday 10th January 2024 at 6:50 am
As one of the millions who signed up to strip Paula Vennels of her CBE for her part in destroying innocent peoples lives, lets pray and hope this nightmare for everybody including yourself Scott will finally come to an end swiftly.
As any resident in Alderley Edge that met you when you ran the Post Office knew it was very clear that you were a decent honest man and that something else was causing the problem.
Now of course we all know, and ALL the people involved who covered up this despicable miscarriage of justice need to be held to account and get their own day in the courts.
Malcolm McClean
Wednesday 10th January 2024 at 2:52 pm
I'm without internet at the moment and so was playing an old playlist on shuffle when a song came on; 'Message to You' by the David International (AKA Scott Darlington). Many people may not know that Scott is also a brilliant singer/songwriter. His songs still stand up after all these years. Those who took part in the cover up are finally getting the message.
Ruth Norbury
Wednesday 10th January 2024 at 7:59 pm
Hi Scott, it never fitted with what I thought of you. So pleased this has turned out well, and so sorry you've had to put up with so much in the past years. All the best xx
Simon Carter
Friday 12th January 2024 at 6:31 am
Scott...delighted you've been fully exonerated...I saw you on Breakfast TV and you were meticulous in your efforts to be totally truthful...What happened to you is disgusting...dont settle for 600K ... its no where near enough...they know it too.
Scott Darlington
Sunday 14th January 2024 at 6:36 am
Thankyou everyone for your very nice comments. It’s been a long nightmare ! It lovely to hear your support for me after all this time. Maybe I will get some designer clothes after all Joan ha ha. Malcolm McClean what a memory ! I’m still doing it too. I would love to call into the village for a beer soon so look out for me and thank you all once again. I really do appreciate it

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