A National Health Service (NHS) worker has been imprisoned for five months for sending a threatening letter to Indian-origin former UK Home Secretary Priti Patel.
In the letter, the 65-year-old had abused Patel and had also threatened to ‘tear’ her ‘into pieces’.
Pooneeraj Canakiah sent the offensive letter in the month of January 2022 when Patel was still the Home Secretary. He was sentenced by the Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London last week.
Canakiah, in the hope that the former UK home secretary would open the letter herself, marked it as ‘personal’. However, before it could reach her, the letter was intercepted by the security staff.
“Your time is coming to an end, be prepared we will get you,” Canakiah wrote in the letter, abusing Patel, “Be prepared, b****”.
“If we don’t get you, we will wait and wait and wait, and tear you to pieces,” he threatened.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) official said that the content of the letter was grossly offensive. He further revealed that the writer was identified by forensic testing.
“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.
Analysis of the handwriting on the envelope and letter proved that Canakiah was the author.
On being interviewed by the police, he denied writing the letter but ultimately pleaded guilty.
Sentencing Canakiah to five months in prison, District Judge Briony Clarke said the letter shocked her every time she read it.
“It`s an attack on democracy”, The Standard quoted her as saying.
“You sent a letter which was disgusting and threatening in nature, it was addressed to a serving MP who at the time was Home Secretary. It was vile in nature, including threats, it was offensive and vulgar,” Clarke said.
As per the media reports, the defence said that the Canakiah “worked all through COVID and became very unwell during 2020”.
The court was told that he suffered two heart attacks and also his mother passed away in July last year.
The defence further blamed his declining mental health for the offensive step he took and further added that he suffered from depression.
The judge however said that she wasn’t given any proof that could support Canakiah’s mental health state so he must serve his five-month prison sentence before being released on license.