Tracy Felstead: thrown in prison aged 19
Morning all – you may remember I was hinting I would be publishing former Post Office worker Tracy Felstead’s story on my blog, and then it all went a bit quiet.
Tracy had very kindly agreed to be interviewed for my Post Office vs Mental Health strand about her experiences at the hands of the Post Office.
Just before publication I asked Tracy if she minded if I mentioned her case to Sam Greenhill at the Daily Mail. Tracy was okay about it.
Sam was so taken by Tracy’s story he went to visit her in Telford, taking a Daily Mail photographer.
The resultant piece – which draws on some of the interviews Tracy gave me and what she told Sam, has been published in the Daily Mail today. You can read it here.
Tracy has been outstandingly brave in coming forward to tell her story. During our interviews she told me about the effect having her photo repeatedly printed in the local paper has had on her, and what being part of the complaint and mediation scheme and trial has done to her mental health.
For Tracy to agree to have her story published in the Daily Mail is an amazing step. I know one of the reasons she is doing so is to help claimants and other people who have been traumatised by their experiences at the hands of the Post Office.
If you want to sent Tracy a message of support, you can contact her directly on twitter here or just hit reply and I’ll forward it on. Tracy’s twitter post on 20 June notes it was 18 years exactly since she was thrown in prison.
If you want to send a note to Sam Greenhill, I think it’s fair to say he’s not an assiduous twitter user, but you can find him here.
There may be a short round up of the latest stage of court proceedings in Private Eye tomorrow. Tim McCormack is usually the first to spot anything. He tends to post the news on twitter (but rightly not the content of any piece as PE doesn’t usually post its stories online).
I know you can read the Daily Mail story in full for free just by clicking on the link, but do have a think about buying a paper copy today if you get a chance. It helps keep journalists in jobs and the print layouts are often much more readable than the online version .
I am extremely grateful to Tracy for having agreed to open up about a horrible experience which is still deeply affecting her family, career and life. The longer version I’ll post tomorrow contains a lot more detail about the mental health trauma she has experienced.
Tracy and her partner Jon, Wendy Buffrey, Deirdre Connolly and Nickie Arch have taught me a huge amount about the lasting, internalised damage the experience of being suspended, sacked, prosecuted and ruined can do to someone. I have also learned about the true meaning of resilience and keeping going from them and many more people connected to this story. I am grateful to them all. If you want to read a wonderful piece I stumbled across on Facebook about grief and the need to be kind, please do have a look it this. It’s very personal and beautifully written.
Are we back in court a week today? I think we are…
There’s also the small matter of the appeal of the Common Issues (ie first) trial judgment.
The Post Office lodged its request for permission to appeal the judgment to the Court of Appeal more than a week ago. I have repeatedly asked the Post Office for the Grounds of Appeal at the very least, and its Skeleton Argument at the very most. Neither has been forthcoming.
I have told them there is a public interest in finding out exactly which parts of Fraser J’s judgment it intends to try to roll back, contest, change, quash etc. but they have not given me the grounds or the skeleton yet, and won’t tell me why.
I suspect I cannot get it from the Court of Appeal yet, as the JFSA have not yet lodged their response, but if there are any lawyers with experience of dealing with the Court of Appeal who could advise how I might be able to get hold of the Post Office documents I would be most grateful.
I’m getting sidetracked – this was meant to be a short email. Go buy the Daily Mail! Have a great day! Be good kind to one another! It matters!