Tom Witherow

Daily Mail

Tom Witherow’s journalism has helped set the agenda on some of the most important scandals in the news.

His front page story revealing the deaths of 33 victims of the Post Office IT scandal, published on the first day of the public inquiry, has been quoted in parliament several times and shifted the conversation on compensation for postmasters. The story was the culmination of a year of old-fashioned Fleet Street work. Tom used his extensive contact network of postmasters to gather tips, he door-knocked dozens of rural post offices, vicars and old union hands, from Hertfordshire to Dartmoor, and leafed through inquest, genealogy and electoral records. The story forms part of the Mail’s campaign for justice for the 3,500 victims of the Post Office IT scandal. Seema Malhotra MP, addressing the House of Commons on February 24, cited the ‘crippingly slow pace of justice’, adding: ‘Sadly, 33 of them have died before receiving any recompense.’ Postal affairs minister Paul Scully said: ‘People have died because this has taken so long, and other people have died because they have committed suicide. It has been horrendous, and that is why we are determined to ensure that we can get this sorted out as soon as possible.’ Compensation targets have been accelerated and new schemes set up to ensure no victim is left out. In total £935million of compensation has now been promised – with most victims guaranteed an offer in 2022. Tom has had similar impact in his coverage of Britain’s gambling addiction epidemic. The attached investigation, published in July, aimed to uncover the reality behind official statistics which estimate there are 409 suicides per year in England. He worked with charities, delved through inquest records and local newspaper archives, and spoke to victims’ families. The result was the most comprehensive list of gambling-related suicides ever compiled. After publication, Tom also harnessed the power of social media, hitting over 2.2 million impressions and 120,000 engagements on Twitter. Former gambling minister Chris Philp, in a post-resignation interview with Tom, said: ‘There wasn’t a single day that I went into the department when I didn’t think about people losing their lives to gambling-related suicide.’ Separately, in August, Tom published a damning piece of undercover investigative journalism, revealing the poor social responsibility working practices at Ladbrokes that led the Gambling Commission to levy a record £17million fine. The colourful piece included lines such as: ‘The Lord Marquis of some shire lost £300,000...their rich friends never know how broke their rich friend actually is’ and ‘Everyone gets a job here…as long as you’ve got a pulse and a brain cell’. The reality inside the company sliced through the platitudes of the chief executive’s claim they ‘continue to lead the market in the critically important area of responsible betting and gaming’. In July, Tom also broke the story that Boris Johnson’s resignation meant the Gambling Review was to be delayed for a fourth time to the anger of campaigners and Tory MPs.