Postman left with depression after being punched in the face by man in village claims he felt ‘punished’ by Royal Mail

Postie Paul Chapman was taken off the Mears Ashby round after he had been punched, so a misconduct investigation could take place. But he wasn't put back on the round for another 18 months.

Postie Paul Chapman was taken off the Mears Ashby round after he had been punched, so a misconduct investigation could take place. But he wasn't put back on the round for another 18 months.

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A postman who says he was punched while delivering letters in Northampton had to wait 18 months before he could go back to the round he loved - even though his bosses found he had done nothing wrong.

Back in October 2012, Paul Chapman was allegedly assaulted as he carried out his usual round in Mears Ashby.

A man - who police later described as a “known offender” in a crime report - had been upset that mail was not being delivered to his new address and had struck the postie in frustration.

At the time Mr Chapman had just completed 25 years’ service with the Royal Mail and been assigned to the quiet village for the past nine years.

But when he reported the incident to his superiors his bosses suspended him from that round pending investigations.

To this day the 62-year-old postie and part-time military historian, maintains he did nothing wrong.

“I was no permitted to go to Mears Ashby on duty or off duty,” said Paul. “I was not have any contact with its inhabitants. But there was a couple there I had known for 40 years.

“I was absolutely devastated.”

The investigation into the incident lasted until March 22 - almost six months.

However later admissions by the Royal mail showed they had taken a statement from the alleged perpetrator just two days after the incident.

On March 22, all allegations of misconduct against Mr Chapman were dropped.

His Royal Mail manager wrote to him to say: “There is no conduct case to answer.”

But in a devastating blow a letter to Mr Chapman also stated that he would not be able to re-apply for the Mears Ashby round he loved, for his own “personal safety”.

Mr Chapman said: “It was like I was not guilty - but I had been given the punishment of being guilty. It wasn’t fair.

“Everyone at work knows I’m not that kind of person.”

Instead the 62-year-old from Moulton continued to work on different rounds “nearly every day” he said and was give jobs usually given to new starters.

In September 2013, his depression got on top of him and he suffered a nervous breakdown.

He felt the duties he was being given were not befitting of a trade veteran.

It was only after 18 months, Mr Chapman was finally reinstated to his set round in Mears Ashby.

A compensation case has recently been dropped, which is why the dad-of-one has decided to talk to the press now.

“This is a story they didn’t want you to hear,” he said.

In 2014 The Royal Mail admitted it made errors in not keeping Mr Chapman updated on his case. It also admitted the rounds it placed him on were “not suitable”.

However, a spokesman for Royal Mail said it had done the right thing by taking Mr Chapman off the Mears Ashby round.

Royal Mail spokeswoman, Morag Turnbull said: ”The safety of our people is of paramount importance. Following an incident in 2012 where the postman was assaulted whilst delivering mail in the Mears Ashby area, in order to ensure his safety and prevent any further incidents occurring, Mr Chapman was taken off this duty.

“We do not comment on individual cases but are looking into the points raised in this matter.”