A FORMER Post Office manager has said he is 'extremely excited' after getting the news that his ten-year-old conviction for defrauding his branch is set to be thrown out.

Vipichandra Patel, 67, is one of the 44 sub-postmasters and sub-postmistresses whose appeals to have their convictions quashed will not be contested by the Post Office.

Mr Patel was convicted of misappropriating funds at the Horspath Post Office in 2010.

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He and his wife Jayshree had to empty their life savings, sell family heirlooms, and were stigmatised by some in their community.

The postmasters and their lawyers say they were all victims of the company's faulty Horizon IT system which made errors that made it look like they were taking cash.

The Post Office never admitted liability in court but paid out £57 million to the 550 sub-postmasters who brought a civil action against them.

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The Post Office has said it will not oppose the convictions being quashed. This makes it almost certain that the convictions of the 44 will be revoked.

Mr Patel said: "Upon hearing the news, me, my wife and the children became very happy and extremely excited.

"It felt like a very heavy burden had been lifted off our shoulders and we've climbed a great mountain nearing the peak.

"After 13 years of stress and trauma, it feels like our tragic tale is nearing closure, which is much deserved for our peace of our minds.

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"I feel light-hearted and light-headed.

"The whole family is happy and lots of people in the village and shop customers have come to congratulate us and feel happy for us.

"Many people have been supportive to us in this harsh ordeal."

Mr Patel's solicitor will sort out the next steps in overturning the convictions.

The former postmaster said: "Due to the pandemic, I do not think I will be attending the court, which is appreciated by me as I do not wish to relive my previous tragic attendance."

While the Patels' ordeal may finally be over, the post office manager expressed concerns for the thousands of other postmasters and postmistresses who were also convicted misappropriating funds, and whose convictions still stand.

He said: "Whilst our issues will be resolved, there are another 2,900 sub-postmasters and sub-postmistresses whose issues need to be resolved, there being 555 of us in the group litigation and another 2,300 have applied for the Historical Shortfall Scheme, and there may be more to add to the list in future.

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"I sincerely hope all concerned are fully compensated in accordance with the law.

"If each person was a member of a family of five, the Post Office has sadly affected the lives of 15,000 people, making this the largest miscarriage of justice in our country, which really justifies the need for a Judicial Inquiry into the disastrous scandal, and the minister of the Post Office is strongly resisting this option.

"The Post Office, which is a 400-year-old great iconic pioneering British public institution with a great contribution to development of mankind and the world which has 'good faith and trust' as its ethos, did not reciprocate the same value to its sub-postmasters and sub-postmistresses."

Read more about the postmasters scandal here

He added: "There is also a need to restore dignity and honour to all those affected in their local communities."