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Post Office/Horizon injustices: Jane Metcalfe sends an Open Email to the Attorney General and the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice re Robin Garbutt's alleged wrongful conviction

The village shop and post office run by Robin Garbutt and his wife Diana (Di) in Melsonby, North Yorkshire.

Dear Ms Prentis and Mr Chalk,  

I am compelled to ask you in this Open Email that will be published on the CCRC Watch website to help us. I am sure you will have somehow heard about this awful case which has featured in almost all national newspapers over the last few weeks, but if by some chance you haven't, I wanted to, as a matter of much urgency, bring to your attention the shocking and wrongful conviction of Robin Garbutt. Robin was wrongly convicted of the terrible murder of his beloved wife `Di` who was killed in their flat above their Post Office in Melsonby, North Yorks, on the 23rd of March, 2010. Robin has always maintained innocence and there is no doubt he is factually, actually innocent, but all the systems supposedly set up to help innocent people wrongfully convicted have utterly let him and us as a society down.

You will be well aware of the Post Office injustices that have rocked this country and that the PM himself is calling for all the SPM`s to have their cases quashed and for them to be recompensed. There is no doubt whatsoever that Robin`s conviction is absolutely part of this huge injustice. As a murder case, it is clearly different to the other SPM PO cases, but the very same system and the very same people at the PO ALSO gave deeply flawed evidence against Robin. He, too, was accused of theft and as a consequence this created an alleged `motive for murder` for the prosecution, telling the jury that he didn't want his wife to find out he`s been stealing from the PO; that he fabricated an armed robbery and that he was the one who murdered his wife in the `dead of night.`

Robin made his first application to the Criminal Case Review Commission (CCRC), the only route and last hope to back to the Appeal court, in 2015 and has been fighting with them ever since, 9 long years and counting!  I am begging you to open your eyes and hearts and to assist this poor man and get all the new evidence since trial before appeal judges. He has jumped through the CCRC`s hoops and danced to their tune for all these years and despite overwhelming rock solid evidence proving his actual, factual innocence they have failed him, his family, his beloved wife, justice and society.

Robin and Diana Garbutt on their wedding day in 2003

Together Robin and his Di owned and ran the Post Office and village shop in the village of Melsonby, North Yorkshire. They bought their business and married in 2003. As there is so much in the public arena now about this case I won`t overwhelm this letter but the bare bones of this tragic story is that on Tuesday the 17th of March 2009 they suffered an armed robbery and intruders stole £11k. The whole ordeal scared Robin and everyone noted how nervous he was for a long time after and they considered selling up. Almost exactly a year to the day on Tuesday the 23rd of March 2010, they suffered a second armed robbery, this time the masked intruder armed with a gun told Robin: `Don`t do anything stupid, we`ve got your wife`. Robin filled the intruders bag with £16k from the safe and contents of the till and as soon as the man left, Robin flew upstairs to find his beloved Di, who had suffered fatal injuries on their bed .(In the same bedroom where there was a further safe built into the floor) and he phoned 999. Here is the call he made immediately after:

Despite there being no forensic evidence, or DNA whatsoever linking Robin with the murder weapon (found 2 days later), or the crime scene, (and in fact DNA of another male on the murder weapon and crime scene and a mixed DNA of three men also at the crime scene), he was arrested 3 weeks later and on circumstantial evidence alone, was convicted by a 10-2 jury in April 2011. Robin then went to appeal in May of 2012.

There was always a plethora of evidence pointing away from Robin, such as 3 known criminals in the village that morning, a mask and gun found a few miles away on the same day, (which has still never been tested for DNA), a criminal known to police was named in a Crimestoppers report, and much more. Yet the Police pursued Robin, a man of exemplary character and who had never even had a parking ticket. The Police gathered in excess of 500 statements going back to his primary school and every single one of them said only lovely things about this kind and gentle man. And, since the appeal in 2012 even more overwhelming evidence, such as TV footage of the wall where the murder weapon was found two days (25th of March) after Di was murdered. The film was taken one day after the murder, on the 24th of March and there is no bar (murder weapon) on the wall.

The two main planks of the prosecution case: 

  • The first plank - Flawed evidence was given by the Post Office that Robin had been stealing and didn`t want his wife to find out. He was alleged to panicked because he was worried that Di would find out and fabricated the armed robbery and murdered his wife in ` the dead of night whilst she was sleeping`. The evidence given by the PO to the Jury was an `overall view` that he had been stealing and this was based on the many previous Post Office`s prosecutions of innocent Sub postmasters. The PO investigators also lied and told the court/jury that records of Robin and Di`s PO records only went back to 2009. Following conviction, and by chance, the records were eventually disclosed, going back to 2003 and they demonstrated that there was nothing at all unusual about said records and that during that time several PO audits had been carried out which showed no discrepancies whatsoever. And, please note that despite this PO evidence being used to create a `motive for murder` by the Prosecution, the PO never pursued Robin of any theft, mainly and perhaps, because the evidence of so-called theft did not exist, it was just an `overall view` from the PO fraud investigators who themselves were involved in the prosecution of several SPM cases, some of which have now already been quashed.

  • The second plank - Robin had a solid alibi from 0430 when he opened the shop and there was never any doubt that Di had been killed shortly before Robin raised the alarm. From 0430 he served approximately 70 customers and delivery drivers and everyone reported he was his usual lovely, jovial self. However, at trial a year later in support of the prosecution's case Dr Jennifer Miller gave evidence for the prosecution and she was adamant that Di`s time of death was between 0230-0430. This was countered by a reliable and credible witness who told the court he had heard Di call out to Robin from the back of the shop at 0645. The prosecution dismissed this testimony and said: `We are not saying this witness is lying, but he must be mistake because we have a expert who says `time of death` was between 0230 and 0430. This same `time of death`/stomach contents expert, Miller, and her evidence was discredited following appeal, please see this article on that subject for clarification:

I have just this last few days been made aware of your involvement with ordering an independent inquiry of the handling of Andrew Malkinson`s shocking wrongful conviction and the failings of the CCRC.

The failings of the CCRC have been known to many for too many years. Dr. Micheal Naughton ( has been calling for their reform for many years and is the founder of Empowering the Innocent and CCRC Watch Here is an article in the Guardian by Bob Woffinden an accomplished investigative journalist who did so much work and fully supported Robin`s innocence written about the CCRC the same year Di was murdered and Robin arrested:

And here a further article on the same subject quoting Dr Naughton from 2012 the same year of Robin`s appeal:

I also share this from a lecture by Dr Naughton (who was also the founder of Innocence Network UK (INUK), and who has been calling for change/reform of the CCRC for about 20 years, this clip is from 16 years ago! Please try to watch all of it if possible but if not please, please listen from about 13mins in about the CCRC+their failings:

This tragic case has been demolished in public for years now and below I will leave more links to so much more that has appeared not only in newspapers but in-depth articles that have appeared on Empowering the Innocent website:

This includes a recent Open Letter by Robin to the CCRC to refer his case back to the Court of Appeal (CoA):

Dear Victoria and Alex, if I may, I IMPLORE you to come to Robin`s aid. Every single person who watched the Bates V Post Office drama on ITV has been shocked by the treatment of our SPM`s, all pillars of the community, just as Robin and his beloved Di were. The general public are shocked at the cover up and the corruption and just how long it has gone of for and many feel the same shock about this case we talk of now. Robin has jumped through every hoop put before him by the CJS and the CCRC, he has danced to every tune and it is now becoming glaringly obvious that this system is not robust enough to filter out innocent victims who are wrongfully convicted, anyone would think when you look over Robin`s case that the very system set up to help him, actually does not care and all that matters to them is ticking a box.

Do they not understand that almost 14 years ago they locked up an innocent man for a most horrific crime and the real murderer just watched it all unfold from the shadow, still free to go on to commit further crimes and even murders?! Our CJS system has got the wrong man and the evidence backing this up is scarily overwhelming. 

PLEASE, PLEASE help me to help Robin?  With all that is now known about the Post Office and the despicable behaviour of their investigators PLUS the failings of the CCRC who have had all this evidence before them for almost 9 years, wont someone in power help us?

Every single department involved in this case has let this gentle, honest man down, every chance they have had to help, they turned away.

I wrote to Mr Sunak three times several years ago, he is the MP for Melsonby, he replied but would not help. I have also recently left several messages for him at his constituency office and emailed him, but to no avail. I would like to think under the circumstances once this case came back before him he would now feel very differently about it? Over the years I have written to David Cameron, Theresa May, Boris Johnson and many, many more MPs.

We know this system, the CCRC, does not work, (look at the overwhelming evidence?), you know it doesn`t work, so please for the love of God don`t let this dance continue for another day longer?

The 23rd of March will be the 14th anniversary of poor Di Garbutt`s murder and Robin, arrested three weeks after her shocking death has not even begun to grieve his adored wife...there has been many times `the system` or people in power, could have done something about this but for whatever reason did not.

I am begging you to just to put yourself in his Mum`s shoes? Robin`s wonderful, gentle, kind Mum is Joyce and step-dad Mike, they are lovely people who have suffered dreadfully throughout  all of this, Joyce is now in her 80`s and troublingly is not in good health. I cannot bare that any harm came to them before their Robin gets back to where he needs to be.

Won`t you somehow find it in your hearts to make up for all of the above and make up for all those mistakes and failings made by the `system` and help fast-track Robin to the CoA?

PLEASE don`t make him suffer any longer, PLEASE,PLEASE,PLEASE after all this time, do the right thing? PLEASE do the right thing and stand up for him and for truth and justice, otherwise what is the point of power that you have if its not used for good. 

Yours sincerely,

Jane Metcalfe

Friend and campaigner for Robin Garbutt

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