A SUB-postmistress from the Dursley area caught up in the Horizon scandal has spoken out about her ordeal and says she is still waiting for compensation.

Nichola Arch - who lives in Cambridge - was spat at in the street and stopped going outside after being falsely accused of stealing thousands of pounds.

Ms Arch managed Chalford Hill Post Office from 1995 until she was suspended in October 2000 when the faulty Horizon software showed money was missing.

She was charged with fraud and theft and faced a trial at Bristol Crown Court after pleading not guilty. 

The theft charges were eventually dropped and she was found not guilty of fraud. 

But despite the acquittal, she lost her business, income, home and reputation.

"I want to get on with my life"

Speaking this week after her case was mentioned in Parliament, Ms Arch said: "I am so relieved that the Post Office scandal is finally receiving the media and national attention it deserves.

"It has destroyed so many lives.

"I'll keep working with Stroud MP Siobhan Baillie on this as while I think it's good to see the Post Office boss hand back her honour and things like that, I really don't want there to be a loss of focus on the victims.

"I'm still waiting for my full compensation and I want to get on with my life with my family."

She added: “We have lost colleagues along the way who didn’t live long enough to have the injustice they suffered properly recognised, and financial amends made.

“I call on the Government to do the right thing, and get these claims resolved once and for all.”

Ms Baillie recently addressed Post Office minister Kevin Hollinrake in Parliament last Monday, January 8 on behalf of Ms Arch.

“Nichola Arch moved me to tears when she described the public shaming and abuse that happened in our usually kind constituency at the time of the scandal," said Ms Baillie.

"Her grown-up child has only ever known her as the post office lady fighting faceless corporations who lost jobs and her house in the meantime.

"Given how people were treated and their losses, there is no one type of victim.” 

Gazette Series: Stroud MP Siobhan Baillie with Nichola ArchStroud MP Siobhan Baillie with Nichola Arch (Image: Siobhan Baillie MP)

Gazette Series: Nichola Arch with Dursley GP and Labour parliamentary candidate Dr Simon Opher Nichola Arch with Dursley GP and Labour parliamentary candidate Dr Simon Opher (Image: Dr Simon Opher)

"She’s had her life taken away"

Meanwhile, Dursley GP Dr Simon Opher and Labour candidate for the Stroud parliamentary constituency described the case as “shocking”. 

He said: “Nicki was in her twenties when she was accused. She’s had her life taken away from her. 

“Rishi Sunak needs to get a grip and do the right thing right now. 

“The hundreds of victims of the Horizon scandal like Nicki Arch must receive proper reparations as a matter of absolute urgency.”

More than 900 Post Office workers were prosecuted between 1999 and 2015 after Horizon falsely showed that money was missing from their branches, with many being jailed.

There has been a public backlash after the case was highlighted by the ITV drama Mr Bates vs the Post Office earlier this month.

Post Office statement 

Commenting on Ms Arch's case, a Post Office spokesperson told the Gazette: "We fully share the aims of the current public inquiry, set up to get to the truth of what happened in the past and accountability.

"We are deeply aware of the human cost of the scandal and are doing all we can to right the wrongs of the past, as far as that is possible.

"Both the Post Office and Government are committed to providing full, fair and final compensation for the people affected.

"To date, offers of more than £138 million have been made to around 2,700 postmasters, the majority of which have been agreed and paid.

"Interim payments continue to be made in other cases which have not yet been resolved."