How a simple Typo ruined one man’s life
21st March 2017

As you know, a typo is just another way of saying something is spelled incorrectly. For example, messaging your friend with “hello, how aer you doign?” contains two typos. It’s just an innocent mistake, right? Unfortunately, Nigel Lang from South Yorkshire claims his life was ruined by somebodies incompetence.

Nigel was a drug recovery worker, doing the best he could to help young people combat their addictions and substance abuse. However, back in 2011 he was wrongly arrested due to “sharing indecent images of children”. This all came about after South Yorkshire police were informed of an IP address that had been sharing these images but an error was made. An extra digit was added – a simple typo. The incorrect IP address went back to Nigel’s partner, which lead to his arrest.

Jeans Typo

Fine example of how stupid you look if you can’t spell. (Image: The Hill)

Poor Nigel says the experience has tainted his name and even resulted in PTSD, meaning he hasn’t been able to work since. He felt that he was good at his job, but because he worked with teenagers, the situation has sparked constant paranoia that he’ll be wrongly accused for something similar again. It took three long weeks before Nigel was found to be innocent after his arrest and all his equipment was returned to him. In that time he had to live with his mother – away from his young son who couldn’t understand why his dad had suddenly disappeared.

11 months passed and Nigel still had no clue why his home was even raided at the time. One of the only things he could think of was he was unfairly targeted. As a black male, he was the one that got arrested despite the IP address belonging to his partner, whom is white. It makes enough sense when you don’t know the details. Nigel discovered that he only targeted because of an error made but had to get solicitors involved to find out what that mistake even was. He was eventually given a written apology in 2014 from Hertfordshire police, since they were the ones that made the typo with the IP address and passed it on to South Yorkshire police.

Amazon Typo

Retail giants, Amazon, had an outage simply due to a typo earlier this month. (Image: Fox)

6 years have passed since, and in October 2016 Nigel received £60,000 in damages plus legal costs. The amount of time that has passed, it’s not really a great deal considering he hasn’t been able to work… but I guess it’s something. He says his loved ones have helped him through the whole thing, and hopefully he’ll be back to his normal self as soon as possible.

The moral of the story here is to always check your spelling, especially with such sensitive information! Nobody deserves this kind of wrong doing.

Source: BBC


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Technology wizard and keen PC gamer. Prefers not to associate himself with “console peasants” if he can help it.