John Armstrong

Year of crime:
Year conviction was overturned:

John Armstrong was one of a group of former sub-postmasters and post-mistresses who were convicted of offences including theft, false accounting, and fraud, based on information from a computer system called Horizon which suggested that money had gone missing from post-office branch accounts. The basis of each of the prosecutions in these cases was that money missing from the branch account had been a result of theft by the sub-postmaster or mistress, or had been covered up by fraud or false accounting by the sub-postmaster or mistress.

An audit in 2005 at Mr Armstrong’s branch identified a shortfall of around £9,500. He fell into financial difficulties and used Post Office money to pay staff wages and to keep the branch running.

Mr Armstrong pleaded guilty to one count of theft in the Crown Court at Southampton, on 21st April 2006. He received a community sentence with a requirement of 200 hours’ of unpaid work. No confiscation order was made as Mr Armstrong had repaid around £12,300.

Mr Armstrong’s conviction was quashed when errors in the Horizon system were identified as the cause of the shortfall. The Post Office accepted that they “could not exclude” the possibility that he only took post office money to cover Horizon-generated shortfalls.

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  • Offence: Theft / fraud
  • Jurisdiction: England & Wales
  • County: Hampshire 
  • Gender: M
  • Offence convicted of: Theft
  • Year of crime: 2005-2006
  • Year of initial conviction: 2006
  • Year conviction was overturned: 2021
  • CCRC Referral: Yes
  • Post Office Case: Y
  • Link to full case:
  • Retrial: No