Former Post Office boss quits boards of Dunelm, Morrisons after legal ruling

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Dunelm Group plc (LON:DNLM) and WM Morrison Supermarkets PLC (LON:MRW) said non-executive director Paula Vennells has stepped down from their respective boards.

Her resignation was mutually agreed with both companies following Friday’s verdict on Post Office workers by the Court of Appeal, Sky News reported. Vennells was chief executive of the postal service from 2012 to 2019, during which several sub-postmasters were wrongly prosecuted.

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“The decision was inevitable,” one boardroom colleague was reported as saying.

“She has been a diligent and effective director, but there was no way for her to stay on after the ruling – and It’s hard to see how she will ever be able to work again.”

The sub-postmasters had been accused of theft and false accounting because of faulty IT system, with some people ending up in prison despite being innocent.

The Court overturned criminal convictions for 39 people last week.

Over 700 sub-postmasters were prosecuted between 2000 and 2014 and the Post Office previously agreed a £58mln settlement with 550 of them, with most money going for legal costs.

The Communication Workers Union is demanding a criminal investigation against Post Office bosses and for Vennells to hand her CBE in.

“I am truly sorry for the suffering caused to them as a result of the convictions which the Court of Appeal has today overturned,” Vennells commented on Friday.

“I fully support and am committed to co-operating with the ongoing Government Inquiry, as I did with last year’s Select Committee Inquiry.”

“I welcome the Court of Appeal’s decision to overturn the convictions of 39 former sub-postmasters in the Horizon dispute, an appalling injustice which has had a devastating impact on these families for years,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Twitter.

“Lessons should and will be learnt to ensure this never happens again.”

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