Post Office rewarded director after she lied in court

Can I get a bonus? Angela van den Bogerd, former Post Office Exec

Damning evidence about the culture within the Post Office at the very highest level was brought to light during the course of Angela van den Bogerd’s second and likely final day of evidence at the Post Office Horizon IT inquiry today.

You can read my live-tweets and see the screenshots of documents posted up during the hearing here. For a summary of the lowlights, read on.

“Take a step back from the answer of an automaton”

Van den Bogerd started her career behind the counter of a Crown Office branch in 1985 just after leaving school. She rose to Director of Partnerships, before leaving in 2020. In all that time, she says, the most she contributed to the widest miscarriage of justice in UK legal history was by missing a few things in documents.

She is exactly the sort of person the Post Office likes. Long-serving, loyal, sharp and biddable. To get a measure of the sort of organisation she is part of, we were taken, at the beginning of the day, to the Post Office’s hounding of Martin Griffiths, a Postmaster driven to suicide.

Griffiths and his parents had poured tens of thousands of pounds into the Horizon-generated accounting holes in Griffiths’ branch in Hope Farm Road, near Ellesmere Port in Cheshire. At his lowest, Martin was attacked by armed robbers. The Post Office blamed him for that, too, initially demanding he give them the £38,000 that was stolen, later reduced to £7,600.

In a letter to the Post Office on 17 July 2013, Martin wrote:

“Over the last 15 months alone, February 2012 – May 2013, more than £39,000 is deemed to be my shortfall, an average of £600 per week. This surely cannot be correct, but the notifications from the Post Office state this is the case. The worry has affected [redacted] and plans for retirement have had to be postponed. I have not had a break in my business hours for more than four years, to keep a tight rein on the office. The financial strain on myself and my family is devastating and continues on a daily basis.”

Griffiths’ mother, who was in her eighties, also wrote to the Post Office around the same time, telling them:

“My son has been under severe pressure and I have personally had to take on more work in the retail side of the business, including providing financial support for the shortages. The so-called shortages over many, many months have been repaid mainly by myself and husband. Although you can continue to say there is no fault in the Horizon computer system, we eagerly await the results of the ongoing investigation being undertaken by Second Sight regarding software errors. Your letter of 3 July, stating termination of Martin’s contract, I feel is very harsh. Kevin Bridger [another Post Office employee] has compounded the severe problems adding insult to injury (and I mean injury), by requesting a fine of £7,600 which represents 20% of the robbery with violence which occurred in May. It was due to the identification of the culprit by a member of staff, that the Police were able to make a quick arrest and subsequently the robber received an 8 year jail sentence.”

By this stage Griffiths was in touch with Alan Bates at the Justice For Subpostmasters Alliance. When, on 23 September 2013, Alan was informed that Martin had deliberately stepped in front of a bus and was in a coma, he emailed the Post Office, with the family’s permission. Copying in Paula Vennells and Angela van den Bogerd, Bates wrote:

“I am aware of Martin’s case, and I know he was terrified to raise his shortages with POL [the Post Office] because of just this type of thing happening to him, but POL got him in the end. Regardless of what may or may not have occurred with him, why did POL have to hound him to the point of trying to take his own life? Why?”

The Post Office’s reaction was telling. Any thought for the victim, his family, the community? This is the internal email chain which followed:

The top comment “given the potential media element please can we line up a specialist media lawyer in case we need urgent advice this evening?” came from Mark Davies, the Post Office’s then Director of Communications.

As Jason Beer KC, counsel to the Inquiry asked van den Bogerd:

“So the immediate reaction, you agree, is not – is Martin Griffiths alright? What about his health?… The immediate reaction was not – what can we do to help this man’s family?… What about his wife and his children, what about his elderly parents, what about his sister? Shall we get someone down to the hospital? No. The first things was – let’s get a media lawyer. Was that what it was like working for the Post Office at the time? It was all about brand reputation? About brand image?”

Van den Bogerd embarked on an explanation which involved conflicting reports about what happened. When pressed on the immediate reaction of her colleagues, she said: “I don’t think [PR messaging] was the first thought. It was definitely a consideration in everything that we did, around… you know, PR and the comms element.”

Beer asked why. Why was it important in this case? “A man has walked in front of a bus,” he said, “one of your Subpostmasters.” Van den Bogerd replied:

“In all my time with Post Office from very early on I was very conscious that PR was very important and everything had to be… it was a comms team… Mark was comms director at the time. And that’s what he said.”

After a year, Martin’s daughter, Lauren, wrote to the Post Office:

“I am emailing to let you know how disgusted we are with the treatment our family has received from the Post Office. As you are well aware it has now been almost a year since we lost our Dad. We hold the Post Office solely and wholly responsible for what happened to him. As I am sure you can imagine, our family has had an extremely tough year… I cannot comprehend how our family has not been supported or compensated this past year. I firmly believe that we would not have received this kind of treatment from any other large corporate organisation.”

The Post Office’s solution, approved by Angela van den Bogerd, was a £140,000 settlement offer to Martin Griffiths’ wife, Gina. To get it, she would have to drop any future claim against the Post Office, drop out of the Mediation Scheme and sign an NDA. The Post Office proposed sending the cash to her in instalments. Post Office lawyer Rodric Williams told Bogerd the Post Office asked for an NDA “as an incentive to Mrs Griffiths maintaining confidentiality. As drafted, if Mrs Griffiths were to breach confidentiality, we could stop any further payments but not recoup sums already paid.”

Beer paused his reading: “An incentive to maintain confidentiality. That was important for the Post Office, wasn’t it?”

Van den Bogerd said it was Rodric Williams who wrote the email.

Beer stopped her: “This is about a different issue. This about the Post Office staging payments to act as an ‘incentive’ to her – a sword of Damocles hanging over her. You don’t get any more money unless you keep quiet. That’s what this is, isn’t it?”

“That’s what Rodric is setting out.” Van den Bogerd agreed.
“Did you see anything unsavoury in using money in ensuring Mr Griffiths’ case was hushed up?” asked Beer.
“This was the first I heard of it from Rodric, and the fact that he said it was accepted, then I just allowed it to continue,” Van den Bogerd replied, confirming to the chair that she approved the way the offer was structured.

Beer wanted to know about the Post Office’s use of NDAs.

Van den Bogerd said: “Any settlement agreement the Post Office entered into was done with a Non-Disclosure Agreement”.
“Why?” asked Beer.
“Because that’s the way they operated, that was always…”
“But why?” cut in Beer. “Take a step back from the answer of an automaton. Why does the Post Office always insist on Non-Disclosure?”
“Because that’s how they tied up the agreement…”
“Yes but why?” pushed Beer.
“Well I just accepted that that was the standard approach with all settlement agreements and that was how they all operated and still do today I believe
“Does it like secrecy?” wondered Beer.

Van den Bogerd failed to give a coherent answer.

No evidence of theft

Tim Moloney with the tie and Jo Hamilton on his left

Tim Moloney KC devoted his allotted slot to questioning Van den Bogerd about her presentation of his client Jo Hamilton’s case to MPs on 18 June 2012. Among the MPs was James Arbuthnot, Jo’s MP. Bogerd agreed she had compiled the information about Jo’s case from looking at the prosecution files. She also agrees this is about the concerns MPs had about the integrity of Horizon and the idea people might have been wrongly convicted.

Bogerd had prepared a briefing pack containing a timeline of what happened at Jo’s branch in South Warnborough. Jo sat and listened alongside Moloney, as she does most days during the Inquiry. Moloney noted the audit and investigation part of the timeline, he listed the helpline calls, the agreements reached between the Post Office and the branch to settle outstanding discrepancies, then he notes the closing audit, the charge, the admission of false accounting and the eventual sentence.

“It was meant to be an open and transparent engagement with MPs, wasn’t it?” asked Moloney.
“Yes.” replied van den Bogerd.

Moloney pointed out that James Arbuthnot was concerned Jo Hamilton was not guilty. Bogerd agrees. Moloney took her to the front of the briefing pack where Alice Perkins, the new Chair of the Post Office says the purpose of the meeting is to give the MPs “all the information” they have available to address the MPs concerns.

Moloney then took van den Bogerd to a report written about Jo’s branch by an internal Post Office investigator called Graham Brander. The report noted several things. Firstly that overnight, between the auditor doing an initial check and a subsequent check the next day, a mysterious £61.77 added itself overnight to Jo’s £36,583.12 discrepancy. As the auditor could not explain this, it was just added onto the amount Jo owed.

Brander also wrote: “I was unable to find any evidence of theft, or that the cash figures had been deliberately inflated.”

Mrs Hamilton was charged with theft, a charge which was only dropped if she gave the Post Office £36k and made a statement which made clear she was not blaming Horizon for the discrepancies at her branch.

Moloney wanted to know why those details weren’t in her presentation to Arbuthnot. It led to this exchange.

“It was a snapshot of what had gone…. I don’t know exactly what I reviewed, but that information isn’t in what I presented.”
Moloney asked again why the “important… details” he listed did not appear in her summary. Bogerd began to squirm.
“The detail that you’ve just gone through was not the detail that… was made available to me, so I’ve taken what I understood to be the key points out of the information that was provided to be able to provide that synopsis of what had happened. I didn’t do an investigation at that point.”
“You didn’t need to do an investigation Mrs Van den Bogerd. The fact that there is no evidence of theft, says Mr Brander, and yet she was still charged with theft. Doesn’t that have to go into your summary so that this MP actually knows what went on with his constituent’s case.”

Bogerd changed her tune. “I don’t know if that was in the information that was made available to me at the time.”
Moloney cut in. “It was in the investigation report, Mrs van den Bogerd. You said you read that.”
Bogerd replied “I read whatever files we had that were available. I don’t know exactly what they were.”

And on it went. Bogerd was now not sure she read the full investigation files, some of the investigation report, or something completely different. Moloney wondered what documents she might have got her information from if it wasn’t the investigation report. Did she see it or not?

“I can’t remember exactly what I referred to,” she replied. “I just wanted to present the picture as I saw it from the information I had available.”

The Chair of the Inquiry, Sir Wyn Williams noted her summary just happened to support the Post Office’s perspective.

“That’s my recollection… I would have expected to have all the information provided to me at the time.” she volunteered, introducing a new mystery person who had come between her and the investigation files. “I don’t even remember who gave me the information.”

There are people like this in every organisation. They believe they are good people, and, outside of work, they often are, but they would quite happily exercise their corporate power to destroy an individual employee if a company executive demanded it, without it troubling their conscience one iota. And they are well rewarded.

“Did you get your bonus that year, Mrs van den Bogerd?”

At the end of the day, Sam Stein KC asked Mrs van den Bogerd about her treatment of Jennifer O’Dell, a woman who was repeatedly told by the Post Office helpline to pay for the discrepancy which appeared in her branch. It is worth reading Mrs O’Dell’s witness statement to the Inquiry to get a sniff of what she was put through. She has PTSD and night terrors.

Sam Stein (l)

By this stage Angela van den Bogerd had already agreed that the Post Office’s directions to its helpline operators was to tell people with discrepancies that in the first instance, Subpostmasters were told to make good discrepancies before any investigation as to how they might have occurred was initiated. Mrs O’Dell was repeatedly told to pay up. Angela van den Bogerd was in charge of the helpline. She oversaw a mass theft of Subpostmaster funds, based on an imbalance of power and blatant mis-stating of the terms of the Subpostmaster contract by helpline staff.

Stein told Bogerd O’Dell claimed that Bogerd was “bullying”, “intimidating” and that her home would be taken away if she didn’t make good the branch discrepancy. Bogerd was adamant this was not her.

Stein raised the issue of credibility, and the finding made by Mr (now Lord) Justice Fraser in the Common Issues judgment, thus: “Unless I state to the contrary, I would only accept the evidence of Mrs Van den Bogerd and Mr Beal [another Post Office employees] in controversial areas of fact in issue in this Common Issue trial if these are clearly and uncontrovertibly corroborated by contemporaneous documents.”

Mr Stein wondered if, when it came to clash of evidence, who should be believed. Van den Bogered was again adamant that Mrs O’Dell was mistaken. Stein explored the Post Office’s response to the judge’s finding.

SS: What was said about you by Mr Justice Fraser was pretty serious, wasn’t it? Condemning you completely out of hand as being someone who simply he can’t trust. And he’s someone who has evaluated your evidence over quite some time in the witness box. It’s a pretty serious thing to hear about yourself, isn’t it?”
AB: Yes
SS: And the Post Office was obviously aware of what was being said about you? Yes?
AB: Yes.
SS: What did the Post Office do by way of an investigation into this? They must have looked into this. Did they?
AB: No.
SS: No? There was no discussion with you about – well hang on, that High Court judge said some pretty rum things about you, surely we should take this seriously. Nothing like that? Nothing ever done?
AB: No.
SS: No. I see. Alright. Did you get your bonus that year, in 2019, Mrs van den Bogerd?
AB: Yes.
SS: So despite a finding in the High Court – that basically you lied to the High Court – you got your bonus?
AB: Yes.

The sort of corporate culture which rewards people after they lied on the company’s behalf in the High Court tells you everything you need to know about that company and the individuals inside it. An organisation which actively supports employees who are evasive, withhold evidence and try to mislead a High Court judge is not that far from a criminal enterprise, which I guess is why it’s under criminal investigation by the Metropolitan Police. I don’t even think Angela van den Bogerd is a particularly special case.

Here’s a write up of part 1 of Angela van den Bogerd’s evidence.

I am currently touring Post Office Scandal – the Inside Story. Please do come and see us as we make our way around the country (all dates here).

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52 responses to “Post Office rewarded director after she lied in court”

  1. … [Trackback]

    […] Read More here: […]


    BEER: “Well, that’s just word soup, isn’t it…?”

    vdBOGERD: “What? …….”

    Replay that first 100 milliseconds of Angela’s response and I think you get a flash of the real van den Bogerd.

  3. AVDB mentioned a number of times that she left the Post Office voluntarily – the reason being something along the lines of the payouts to the SPMs not happening quickly enough. I definately got the impression she left on her own volition. However, it was also stated at various points that she was made redundant. These two facts are mutually exclusive. If redundancy, the Post Office would have had to make her position redundant, which would have resulted in a (probably large) payoff, some of it likely to be tax free. If she left volutarily, as she most certainly implies, there would have been no payoff. Could she have asked to leave, with the Post Office “rewarding” her for long service, by styling her leaving as “redundancy”, to enable a redunadancy package?

  4. Having followed AvdB’s second day of questioning I have been struck by her callous disingenuity and ruthless cruelty. Her complete lack of compassion at Mr Griffiths tragic suicide is mirrored by her readiness to throw her colleagues, under a metaphoric bus without hesitation, in a vain, misguided attempt to save her own skin.

    Her performance is nauseating.

    Watching Ms van der Bogerd gazing up to her left to suggest she was recalling fact, was calculated but unconvincing for, as the day wore on, hesitation and gazes to the right betrayed her apparent artifice and sophistry.

    Shame on her.

  5. Just curious……Was the Horizon system designed to catch ‘subbies with their hands in the till’ who ‘couldn’t resist temptation’ so when there was a lot of issues – if the was a widely spread view about subbies – what did POL management do about it – the logical thing is to invent an infallible computing system – enter HORIZON – POL management just had their view confirmed to them and were congratulating themselves on stopping this loss if money (so they also got bigger bonuses) so weren’t surprised that there were suddenly a lot of prosecutions – it’s what they expected. Hence the complete conviction in the integrity of the system. The lack of proper investigation etc etc….

  6. Lesley Mansfield avatar
    Lesley Mansfield

    This is an absolute travesty. The way that companies can destroy lives legitimately shows how corrupt Capitalism has become. It is as bad as Communism if not worse as it hides under the blanket of respectability.
    All involved in this daylight robbery should face jail time.
    Government if it was respectable should have called this Fujitsu fiasco out years ago. Same as Bayer drugs company and the infected blood scandal. It doesn’t seem to matter to these companies that they destroy ordinary peoples lives. They are worse than Putin.

  7. Nick,

    Did AVB misappropriate POL funds and do fae accounting, with the funds, that were given in compensation?

    It didnt come of out the compensation bucket but from another bucket, which would help POL meet internal associated performance related targets. It was false accounting?

  8. I worked in the Post Office years ago, the bit that became BT, and I recognised many of the characters – the ignorant ones promoted way beyond their abilities who succeeded by bullying and lying.

  9. Watching Jo Hamilton carefully, I concluded that she really, really doesn’t like Angela. A very discreet smile appeared when Angela was squirming – and she looked unblinkingly at her at those moments.

    Sadly, I very much doubt there will be any retribution aside from some choice words from Sir Wyn at the conclusion. Then back to doing what she does best, wherever she “works” now.

  10. Angela van den Liar Bogerd.

    No one should believe a single word that this woman says unless it can be collaborated by clear evidence from others..

    The series of cross examinations showed that now she is so desperately trying to distance herself from the epicentre of this scandle …despite having been at the heart of it..

    Hopefully the Crown Prosecution service will soon be knocking on her door …. Get her charged and in court …then the Post Masters can sit in the public gallery and see justice being handed out .

  11. fantastic reporting once again. I just wish the wording would change from others involving about the word compensation. it’s not compensation, its return of their stolen money, following that return then they should receive complete onto for the mental , emotional and physical abuse they’ve injured.
    I don’t understand why the POL would not think why suddenly have ALL these sub post masters become criminsls at the same time when previously they have been blemish free citizens !!!!! unless POL believed they’d all got together to dream up an elaborate plan to collectively steel vast amounts of money which would be the stuff of fictional story telling

  12. Alexander Marshall avatar
    Alexander Marshall

    I’ve just been reading ‘ Suicide Act 1961’ (link at bottom of message) which is very clear that if suicide is committed which is a direct result of an offence being committed, then it becomes a trialable jury case which would be sentenced at Crown Court Level.

    Of course a full and thorough investigation would be required by the CPS which would uncover other parties aiding and abetting and on a larger scale where other parties were knowingly colluding would open up the possibility of criminal conspiracy.

    Then there is the possibility of ‘Malicious Prosecution ‘ whereby people are knowingly convicted of an offence where the complainant knows knows full well that there is no criminal liabilty.

  13. Keith Silverthorne avatar
    Keith Silverthorne

    Why are Met Police and SRA sitting on their hands in total inaction when so much evidence already exists to progress prosecution or removal of professional status. Poor excuse for inactivity to consistently rebuff demands for accountability by waiting and waiting for the inquiry to end.
    Protection of their own interests or incompetence

  14. Having read Nick’s book and watched the ITV drama it is hard to believe that the people now appearing at this Inquiry could so easily inflict such devastating damage upon fellow human beings. The efforts of all involved in bringing these people to the attention of the public is just so admirable.
    But now having watched yesterday’s performance I’m beginning to worry that it is transforming from an investigative procedure to one of entertainment. This view will probably be met with some derision, however watching someone being verbally bullied, no matter how much in some peoples eyes they deserve it, just doesn’t sit comfortably with me. The facts will eventually speak for themselves, and hopefully the guilty will face justice. What isn’t necessary is the “playing to the gallery “, in my view it takes something away from the whole process.

    1. I absolutely disagree with you. I believe I am an extremely fair person and would even defend to the hilt someone I disliked who was being unfairly accused but the obfuscation, aggression, blatant lies and/or blatant ‘amnesia’ shown by most of the witnesses and their lack of remorse deserve no compassion. Remember, lives have been destroyed due to these ‘people’. So, the very short time these ‘people’ have had to endure, as you put it “being verbally bullied” in this inquiry is nothing compared to the aggressive bullying their targets had endured and will forever endure because of them. These ‘people’ are getting just a tiny fraction of the pain of that which they inflicted on innocent, hard-working subpostmasters/mistresses. I would say, save your compassion for the real victims. (And your comment “playing to the gallery” is baffling; it is an inquiry with witnesses, lawyers and a Chairman.)

  15. Every powerful organisation have their AVDBs. They are employed to enforce the company line irrespective of right, morality or legal implications and they are rewarded with high salaries and large bonuses. If they are ever threatened with exposure by Whistle-blowers and other “Troublemakers” they call in the legal heavyweights, who dispose off the most persistent with small pay-outs providing NDA are signed.
    This whole scandal was only exposed because of Alan Bates persistence. I hope there are more Mr. Bates out there.
    Power to the obsessive for truth.

  16. Will nobody challenge these witnesses on the use of “with hindsight”? Sometimes it’s a reasonable defence, usually it isn’t.

    Reasonable: There were two identical, unmarked bottles. One contained water, the other poison. I chose one and gave it to the subpostmaster to drink. It was poison. With hindsight, I chose the wrong one.

    Unreasonable: There were two bottles, one unmarked, the other decorated with skull and crossbones, and labelled “Poison”. I gave that one to the subpostmaster to drink. With hindsight, I chose the wrong one.

    The latter is basically what AvdB and others are saying when they say that they knew about claims of anomalies in the system but didn’t look into it further.

  17. SS mentioned the help desk issue but moved on too soon. AvdB was responsible for it for a period. SPMs were repeatedly being told they were the only ones with Horizon problems. Individual help desk calltakers wouldn’t have made this up. Where did they get this line from? From the Book that AvdB would have been responsible for? The enquiry should get witness statements from one or two of the calltakers. Of course this goes higher than the help desk. Investigators repeatedly peddled this lie too. Where did *they* get it from? And it can’t have been from just one high-up: we know jobholders changed frequently over the period in question. This crucial and widespread lie needs to be closely tracked back to its sources, not just noted down each time we know it happened.

  18. Maybe Nick is right, some people are good until they step into their corporate bunkers and rain hell on everyone in the belief that they must as they are in business. We’ve met Paula Vennells for a whole day in a visit to our village branch and mobile van service, and she came across as a likeable fair minded person.
    The flip of that perspective is how the POL board keep telling us they were concerned about the ‘BUSINESS REPUTATION’. As far as I know POL does not generate 1 penny of revenue or profit, it is a self serving office of administrators. ‘THE BUSINESS’ is the BRANCH NETWORK throughout the land that generates the transactions, loyalty, trust and reputation the POL board have shredded. In fact it is the theft from the SPM’s, the vulgar expenditure on lawyers and court proceedings, the infantile shallow lying to the enquiry by the very people in roles created to protect and underpin the SPM BRANCH NETWORK. PLEASE Mr.Beer when PV is in the chair ask her to define the’BUSINESS’ and where her loyalties were devoted?

  19. I was very impressed by Van Den Bogerd’s ability to identify event and documents with almost photographic precision, especially on the few occasions when she corrected Councel, also the fluency of her (coached) responses that did not address the question being asked.
    This was in bright contrast to her dull failure to recollect receiving or reading critical emails or to have insufficient knowledge of the staff or departments which she was supposed to be leading and be responsible for.
    For me those occasional flashes demonstrated Van Den Bogerd’s true personal qualities and what the SPMs were up against.

  20. Thank you Nick for another excellent example of journalism at its best.

    Having listened to Rodric Williams and Angela van den Bogerd, plus other identikit corporate Post Office automatons, the pseudo-mafia type goons or ‘thugs in suits’, you wonder if Guy Ritchie rather than Gwyneth Hughes would have been a more appropriate writer for the ITV Drama series.

    Basically the Post Office line in this inquiry is pure Susie Glass from the Gentlemen…

    ‘You’re sorry. I’m sorry. Everyone’s &&&&&&& sorry.

    Doesn’t make much of a difference though, does it?’

    Those responsible in the Post Office and elsewhere for the miscarriage of justice are a disgrace to criminals everywhere. At least there is some honour among thieves.

    We have yet to hear from Paula ‘The Gospel’ Vennells but if she’s asked about the suspense account or her bonuses, I’d give her another Susie Glass line…

    ‘You never give back money once it’s been handed over’

    As for Rodric Williams and Angela van den Bogerd, they are Post Office automatons through and through.

    Lock, stock and two sticks of rock.

  21. This needs to be in court. People can bluster all they like but a court can still find them guilty. But only a court can make that decision. Although this is compelling viewing I do wonder where it’s heading and whether justice is being delayed.

  22. Sadly, I fear that the callous, deceptive, unfeeling, bullying and brand-loyal approach exemplified by AB, precisely emulates the seedy underworld of business and government in the UK (and ‘memory losses’ more extensive than a Horizon balance sheet)… Much like a submerged iceberg that cannot be known until little pieces float away and float to the surface.

    This Post Office scandal is merely just such an iceberg that has drawn enough attention to make its presence known. Meanwhile, we live in a country as a beleagured ship surrounded by such, with citizens blindly voting to sail in one direction or another.

    I’m fully if the opinion that nothing short of a revolution will root the cohorting self-serving b……s out.

    1. Rosie Brocklehurst avatar
      Rosie Brocklehurst

      I agree

    2. Omg, Brendan, you have summed up the corporate world to a tee.

  23. The sub-postmasters were set up to fail by Post Office Limited, this was the essence of the business model. Once this was exposed for all to see, the only way forward was to defend this position at all costs, no matter that normal standards of ethical conduct and human morality had to be set aside.

    1. Alan Cornforth avatar

      This point did occur to me when Stein was outlining her role in the Network closure programme. Could it just be that the Horizon terminals failed dramatically in the Post Offices they wanted to close – injected code, etc? If this was the case and can be proven then that is a whole new level of criminality!?

      1. Martin Christy avatar

        Hey, I think you may just have something there!

  24. Far too many people are elevated to positions of power that they are not qualified for. Be this in big companies, NHS and Government. I cannot comprehend how so many people had money stolen from them by the PO and the excesses held in suspense accounts not investigated. How did nobody put two and two together ? Or perhaps they did and thought they would keep the money for bonuses.

    Another recent injustice is Sharon White who was given Chairman of John Lewis. She knows nothing about retail and is destroying the brand. Patrick Lewis, an original family member and passionate about the company and brand was paid off recently to leave the company. He would have been an amazing lead.

    1. And then there’s Dido Harding, who lied to the DCMS committee over the (massive) TalkTalk data exfiltration.

      She said it was the first such event. It wasn’t. She knew that. The earlier one had been reported to the board.

      She said it was a “highly sophisticated attack”. It wasn’t. It was an SQL injection attack – a well-known vulnerability in websites that have an SQL backend, known about for a good decade, and with equally well-known mitigations. The most cursory of vulnerability assessments of the TalkTalk website would have revealed it. TalkTalk were negligent in not carrying out any such assessment.

      Her reward for those lies? As well know, running the disastrous, expensive Track and Trace operation during the pandemic.

    2. Martin Christy avatar

      On your first paragraph: well, the bonus money has to come from somewhere! Who knows how many other large corporations are quietly doing the same thing to their employees, unknown to anyone outside of their management!?

  25. Rosie Brocklehurst avatar
    Rosie Brocklehurst

    Brilliant piece of writing. I am not sure “there are people like this in every organisation.” Van Den Bogerd does not really believe she is ‘good’ either. She is revealing a classic sociopathic personality. This would require diagnosis of course, but it means she lacks empathy and does not possess a conscience in the sense that you and I understand it. But her responses show criminality. Her responses are an affront to every person in this country and the lawyers who briefed her deserve to be first exposed, then vilified then struck off. Emma Simpson’s BBC piece on Gina Griffiths last night was superb and moving. Jayne, Martin’s sister also sent a message which Nick posted which was a howl of outrage and pain. I was surprised no one else in broadcasting covered it on the late bulletins, instead we got too many helpings of that analgaesic -the King returning to light duties instead (ITV I am surprised at you). Revenge is a dish best served cold it is said. I am prepared to work with anyone to bring Van De Bogerd into a law court with jury on the most damning charges that can be made. She exemplifies what is rotten in the State of Britain and it highlights how the State does not and rarely has served the people at all when it comes to accountability. This inevitably weakens trust trust in politicians, the law and justice. Populism is rooted in such unspeakable disappointment in Government. It is a dangerous slope and I hope people in power who can take very good note.

  26. Chloe Alexander avatar
    Chloe Alexander

    After listening to the squirming of AvdB yesterday I returned to this testimony from Amandeep Singh last year.

    Even if this was before her time, it shows us the pressure that ‘her’ Helpline team were themselves facing. Rudderless.

    He’s in at 1.25

    My conclusion to Jason Beer’s asking her ‘what do you actually do?’ is that she spent her time thinking up new names for all her teams and micro teams.


    1. Thanks for the link to Amandeep Singh. I can totally empathise with this man as I worked as a tech support supervisor for an ISP between 96-98 in Bracknell – ironically, 300 yards away from the Fujitsu building!! The repetition of dealing with the same issues on a daily basis led my team to refer to the customers as “Armadillos” and that cynicism became common place and difficult for me to eradicate and I made myself unpopular trying to get rid of it. Amandeep was very eloquent and helpful with his testimony and it was in stark contrast to 2 days of AvdB!

  27. A complete lack of conscience and empathy seems to get you very far in the pst office. In other companies as wellicht I’m afraid.

    1. Cold blooded reptile, I’m afraid. Loads of them around.

  28. Unthinking automaton is dead right. Lackey, yes man, nodding dog will do just as well, too. Appalling people pushing appalling agendas. With all these lawyers working in POL, not one of them reacted correctly to the notice made of possible miscarriages. I wish Mr Maloney had said, in response to her, “I’d expect Helen R to raise it with her L/M”, something like: any decent person equipped with sense and emotional intelligence, from the judge here to a person passing through this room could recognise an obligation to do “the right thing”: what does it matter if 1, 5 or 300 people raise the alarm, as long as it’s raised?!

  29. Big business is an evil morass, BT gave its golden handshake to the CEO who lost £30 billion in 2001.
    Hospitals run by CEO’s, some with no medical experience who bring in decisions to the detriment of the medical staff, mess up things, leave, pop up in a directorship somewhere else. Post Office just another of the same.

  30. Do we know the total amount repaid to POL by the SPMs over the years? Presumably several million pounds? What happened to this money? Presumably POL collected only amounts that corresponded to actual sales from the branch offices, so they were neither in- nor out-of-pocket. We know that Horizon contained covert routines enabling non-POL staff to alter branch accounts. Is it possible that a rogue Fujitsu employee had introduced code into Horizon which transferred the discrepancies to a bank account that only they had access to? (A classic drip-feed fraud).
    Will the enquiry address this possibility?

    1. probably they put it all back into the business: corporate theft. that’s what the cops will eventually be looking at. none of these hideous individuals will provide accountability in this inquiry because it would open them up to prosecution. im sure Vennells and her lawyers will be watching these latest hearings and going through dry-runs in her massive house to get her mendacious answers ‘just right’!

    2. I believe that Fujitsu with Pol conspired together from the outset to alter accounts of SPM’s to shut them up and bankrupt them.
      (Rudkin & his wife) after his visit to Bracknell losses appeared at his post office bearing in mind Fujitsu said he had never been there or seen Remote access.

  31. Watching yesterday (and getting more and more upset) as even more detail of this dreadful and tragic story was revealed, I couldn’t help compare the demeanour of two women. The calm dignity of Jo Hamilton – goodness knows how she can so bravely face and cope emotionally sitting through all of this – against the almost expressionless and certainly emotionless, constant lying of van den Bogerd – “it wasn’t me”, “I can’t remember ”, “not my responsibility”.

    1. What rang out with me were her constant refrains: “my concern was…”, “I wanted to understand…”, “I wasn’t involved in the prosecutions…”. Reptilian…..

  32. James JohnCavanagh avatar
    James JohnCavanagh

    The seriously unfortuate truth of this matter is that in all of the post office time line of Fujistsu computer failures Several Prime Ministers of all the main parties had the means to look into this and did absolutely nothing ?

  33. A fascinating anomaly of this inquiry is how we can compare the clever characterizations of key figures in Mr Bates vs The Post Office and see for ourselves how well they match with the real deal. After two full days of testimony it is evident that Katherine Kelly did a dam fine job portraying the tone deaf Agent van den Sparrow chirping along to the POL chorus.

    I am now looking forward to Ron Warmington’s testimony to warmly remind us what real human beings look like after this parade of sulking amnesiacs.

    1. john Stephenson avatar

      My thoughts exactly watching this unfold.

  34. Garry O'Keeffe avatar
    Garry O’Keeffe

    Thanks Nick for your outstanding reporting.

  35. […] Notes on Angela van den Bogerd’s second day of evidence can be read here. […]

  36. As per usual Sam Stein had the biggest impact at the inquiry by getting straight to the point and he landed many “blows”. However, he also landed a few low “blows” by shouting at AVDB to speak up. Her calm composure must have rattled him because he just came across as a bully himself – at times I could barely hear his own questions until he went closer to the microphone. He would have been better served by just asking AVDB to move the microphone closer to her and maintaining the moral high ground.

    1. I watched this part twice as it so intrigued me and I didn’t find him to be shouting – I did find his connection to the high court case where she also mumbled interesting. He was firm – I did not find that bullying.

  37. Van Den Bogerd, demonstrated all the traits of an extremely cold, hard, calculating woman, who displayed not one single iota of contrition or humanity, over the two days of questioning by the superb Mr Beer KC. I do sincerely hope that her conscience never allows her to forget her inhuman treatment of the SPMS, as well as getting her just deserts!

    1. Sadly, she doesn’t appear to have a conscience. If she did, she would have shown more candour in her answers. In her non-apology to SPMs at the start of the two days she claimed she wanted to help the Inquiry get to the truth – this was just another lie, which she seems to do as easily as breathing.

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