A former Hitchin sub-postmaster was wrongfully convicted of stealing more than £50,000 from the Post Office, in one of hundreds of cases that are subject of a public inquiry starting this week.

From 2005, Abiodun Omotoso was in charge of Walsworth Post Office and lived in Stevenage - and in 2008 he was wrongly convicted of stealing more than £50,358 from his workplace.

Ecomonics graduate Mr Omotoso was sentenced to two years and four months in prison, aged 33.

The miscarriage of justice is just one of around 700 cases of wrongful conviction in the scandal - and a public inquiry started yesterday.

Luton Crown Court heard auditors made an unexpected visit to the Walsworth Post Office, which led to the discovery of the shortfall.

Throughout the case, Mr Omotoso maintained his innocence, and the court heard he had no previous convictions and had an "impeccable character and reputation", carrying out voluntary work in the community.

But he was jailed after being found guilty - and it wasn't until 2021 that his conviction was quashed.

Criminal proceedings came about after the UK Post Office introduced the Fujitsu Horizon computer accounting system in 1999 and from 2000 onwards unexplained discrepancies and losses began to be reported by sub-postmasters. It was later discovered the Horizon system was flawed.

The theft, fraud and false accounting cases resulted in hundreds of convictions, imprisonment, loss of reputation and livelihood, bankruptcy and divorce. Some of those accused died by suicide and some passed away before they could be exonerated. It's said to be the most widespread miscarriage of justice in British legal history.

The Ambrose and Others Vs Post Office case said that Mr Omotoso initially told police that he borrowed the money to get treatment for a sick relative in Nigeria. His untrue account came after he was told that his truthful account, of not knowing what happened to the money, wouldn't be believed and "if he accepted liability the matter could be dealt with internally."

His defence statement said that this account was untrue and the Horizon system showed there was more money than there actually was. It was ruled that his conviction was unsafe and it was overturned - to date, another 71 people have had their convictions thrown out.

Retired High Court judge, Sir Wyn Williams, is leading the inquiry which is expected to run for the remainder of the year.