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Friday, May 24, 2024
Friday May 24, 2024
Friday May 24, 2024

Locked up and pregnant: Inside Post Office scandal’s prison ordeal amid £74k accusations

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Seema Misra’s life took a tragic turn as she left home, promising her son a special birthday meal, only to be sentenced to 15 months in prison while pregnant with her second child. The subpostmistress, accused of stealing £74,000 due to discrepancies caused by the faulty Horizon IT accounting system, became one of over 700 sub-postmasters and mistresses prosecuted due to the system’s errors, leading to four suicides among them.

A senior Post Office lawyer celebrated her imprisonment, boasting to executives about “destroying the attack on the Horizon system.” Seema’s ordeal is at the centre of an ITV drama, “Mr Bates vs The Post Office,” portraying the fight of wrongfully-accused Post Office workers, featuring Katherine Kelly, Julie Hesmondhalgh, and Toby Jones.

Now 47, Seema endured four months in prison and gave birth to her second son, Jairaj, while still wearing an electronic probation tag. Speaking exclusively to The Sun, she vividly recalls the devastating moment she learned of her 15-month sentence, confessing, “If I hadn’t been pregnant, I would have taken my own life. I was at rock bottom.”

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Her Post Office tenure in West Byfleet, Surrey, began with concerns about a shortfall of £80 in the Horizon system on her first day. Despite her efforts to rectify the discrepancies, she was suspended and later charged with theft and false accounting.

Seema’s harrowing journey included enduring prison while pregnant, facing a terrifying environment, limited antenatal care, and constant fear for her and her baby’s safety. Her husband faced ostracism and attacks after her photo appeared in local papers.

Forced to sell their family shop, her husband juggled responsibilities while caring for their son. Seema’s imprisonment in Bronzefield Prison alongside infamous inmates further deepened her nightmare.

Despite her conviction being quashed in 2021, the damage persisted. The High Court acknowledged flaws in the Horizon system in 2019, triggering an inquiry that exposed the Post Office’s malicious intent, revealed through a senior lawyer’s email celebrating Seema’s wrongful conviction.

Reflecting on the upcoming drama and accompanying documentary, Seema hopes it’ll shed light on the scandal’s magnitude and the collective struggle for justice. She emphasises the cruciality of understanding the systemic injustices faced by many, underscoring the collective effort to expose the truth amidst the Post Office’s attempts to conceal their wrongdoing.

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