Man jailed for threatening British Indian ex-minister Priti Patel


London: A 65-year-old man has been jailed for five months for mailing a threatening letter to former Home Secretary Priti Patel after admitting to sending a grossly offensive letter to the Indian-origin ex-minister at a hearing.

Pooneeraj Canakiah was sentenced by the Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London last week.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in England said the letter, which was addressed to Patel and had the words “personal letter” handwritten upon it, was opened by a member of her staff on January 22 last year when she was still the Home Secretary.

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Patel did not see the letter personally, and forensic testing was used to trace the writer.

“The content of the letter was grossly offensive and abusive. Canakiah thought that he would not be caught, however, forensic analysis proved that he wrote the letter,” said Senior Crown Prosecutor Lauren Doshi, from the Complex Casework Unit of the Crown Prosecution Service in London South.

“This conviction and sentence sends a clear message, that threats of this nature are taken very seriously and will not be tolerated. The CPS will not hesitate to prosecute such offences whenever our legal test is met,” she said.

The forensic tests revealed that a letter to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) had been written by Canakiah on top of the paper used for the letter to Patel.

Analysis of indentations in the paper revealed Canakiah’s name and address, and further analysis of the handwriting on the envelope and letter proved that he was the author.

When interviewed by the police, Canakiah – a healthcare sector worker from east London – denied having written the letter but eventually pleaded guilty to one offence of sending a letter conveying an indecent or offensive message in March last year.

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( With inputs from )

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