Adi Misra was only 10 years old when his mother, Seema, was wrongfully accused of stealing £75,000 from the Post Office and sent to prison. She was the sub-postmistress in West Byfleet and ran the village post office and shop. On the day of her sentencing, Adi was told she was in a special kind of hospital. He only discovered the truth eight years later.
Now 23, Adi recalls feeling abandoned and hating his mother for leaving him so abruptly. He believes all victims of the Horizon scandal deserve compensation. The Horizon scandal involved hundreds of UK sub-postmasters and sub-postmistresses wrongfully convicted due to shortfalls in their accounts reported by the Post Office.
Seema served nearly five months in prison while pregnant with her second child. After her release, she and her husband Davinder focused on rebuilding their family life and supporting Adi through his education. It wasn’t until Adi was 18 and at university that Seema revealed her prison sentence to him. In 2019, she was one of 557 claimants compensated nearly £58m by the Post Office.
Adi was shocked by the revelation and struggled to comprehend the full extent of his mother’s ordeal. He also learned about how his family had been ostracised by the local community, with his mother being labelled a “pregnant thief”. His father had also been physically assaulted by locals who believed he was involved in the crime.
Despite these challenges, Adi credits his parents for striving to provide him and his younger brother with a normal upbringing. He believes his parents deserve to regain the life they lost due to the wrongful conviction.
The government has announced a new law to swiftly exonerate and compensate all those wrongly convicted in the Horizon scandal. Adi’s mother’s conviction was quashed in 2021, but Adi feels more public recognition is needed for those affected by the scandal. He wants everyone affected to be fairly compensated for their losses.