Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Horizon probe told children’s piggy banks raided to raise cash to meet shortfall

(PA)
(PA)

A former shop owner has described emptying her children’s money banks into a bucket in a desperate bid to raise thousands of pounds the Post Office accused her of taking.

Sinead Rainey wept as she told the Horizon IT inquiry how Post Office auditors told her there was a £63,000 shortfall in the branch inside her convenience store near Toomebridge, Co Antrim.

“I just wanted the ground to open up and swallow me whole, it’s a complete blur how I stayed on my feet,” she said.

“I don’t know how I did to be honest.”

Mrs Rainey told the inquiry how the auditors gave her one hour to source as much money as she could to make up the shortfall before they closed the safe and suspended the Post Office.

She frantically called her mother and husband and returned to her home in the village of Moneyglass and found a bucket to start collecting cash.

“I emptied my children’s money boxes into it and my own purse,” she said.

“2ps, 5ps everything went into this bucket.”

A tearful Mrs Rainey said her mother and father withdrew as much money as they could from their bank accounts, as did two of her uncles, while her sister gave her the takings from her own shop.

“Somewhere in the region of £42,000 was in that bucket,” she said.

“I carried that bucket in and the auditors made me stand there and watch them count and made me feel so lousy for bringing them all these pennies.”

In an emotional testimony to the inquiry, Mrs Rainey described how her experiences with the Post Office had devastated her life, left her reliant on medication and fractured family relations with her uncles.

“I don’t go anywhere,” she told inquiry chair Sir Wyn Williams.

“I don’t do anything. I don’t take my kids to the shop. I don’t walk my wee’uns to school. I don’t go to their sports days. I don’t go to their sports. I don’t go anywhere. I don’t even visit my mother and father-in-law because I feel like I let them down because I wrecked their son’s life too because of what happened to me.

“I will never be the person I was before. I was the organiser, I was the one that provided the craic.”

She added: “My husband and my children lost the funny, happy, strong wife and mummy they know, it happened overnight.”

Mrs Rainey said she was a shadow of herself who kept crumbling in front of her family.

“I didn’t deserve this, I was trapped with no one to help me and nowhere to turn,” she said.

The former retailer said she needed the money paid back.

“I need my parents to see that me and my family can be happy again,” she said.

“I need my children to see that their mummy can be happy again. I need to be happy again. I want us to have a life we should have had before this nightmare began.”