Seema Misra: Wrongly jailed in UK while pregnant, Indian-origin sub-postmistress rejects engineer’s apology

An Indian-origin former manager of a Post Office in the United Kingdom (UK), who was wrongly jailed while pregnant, has rejected the apology of an engineer whose evidence helped convict her.

Seema Misra, 47, told the BBC that a statement from former Fujitsu engineer Gareth Jenkins was “too little, too late.”

Accused of stealing £70,000 from her Post Office branch in West Byfleet, Surrey, Misra’s conviction was quashed in April 2021. She is one of over 700 sub-postmasters wrongly prosecuted for financial discrepancies caused by a faulty IT system. The scandal led to ruined lives, lost businesses, and even deaths for some who awaited justice.

Pregnant with her second child at the time of her sentencing, Misra served four-and-a-half months in prison and gave birth while wearing an electronic tag.

“Nobody can understand it,” Misra said of her ordeal. “He [Jenkins] could have apologised ages ago.”

Her reaction followed a written witness statement submitted to the Post Office Inquiry by Jenkins, in which he said: “I did not know that Mrs Misra was pregnant at the time of her conviction and only learned of this many years later. This makes what has happened even more tragic. I can only apologise, again, to Mrs Misra and her family for what happened to her.”

Jenkins, who appeared as an expert witness in multiple sub-postmaster cases, is currently under police investigation for potential perjury.

This rejection follows a similar one from Misra directed at former Post Office Managing Director David Smith, who had congratulated staff on her conviction in a 2010 email. Smith also apologised at the inquiry, calling the email “poorly thought through.”

“How can I accept the apology?” Misra said. “They need to apologise to my 10-year-old, they took his mum away on his birthday. They need to apologise to my youngest son. It was terrible. I haven’t accepted the apologies.”

(With PTI inputs)

Published By:

Devika Bhattacharya

Published On:

Jun 26, 2024

Leave a Comment