I read this article by Adam Eley and Jo Adnitt on the BBC News App last week, which had been featured on the Victoria Derbyshire programme:
In 2011 Nigel Lang, 44, was working as a drug recovery worker, helping young people combat substance abuse. It was a job he loved.
In May 2011, officers at South Yorkshire Police were informed by colleagues in Hertfordshire that they had identified an IP address from which more than 100 indecent images of children had been shared during April that year. The IP address corresponded to an internet account held by Nigel’s partner. However, unknown to Nigel or anyone else at the time, the IP address had been typed incorrectly by the police, and an extra digit had been added by mistake.
Nigel was arrested on suspicion of sharing indecent images of children, and his life fell apart. After three weeks police returned the computer, and he was found completely innocent. However, his reputation was tarnished and he became fearful of working with young females in case they reported that he had made sexual advances. He ended up on benefits.
Eleven months after his arrest and still having no knowledge of why his home had been raided, Nigel began the search for answers. He asked whether it might be possible to check if the cause of his arrest had been incorrect information supplied by the Hertfordshire police, but was told that “Owing to the passage of time, this would not be possible.”
Nigel asked his solicitor to look deeper. The lawyer contacted Hertfordshire Police and discovered the truth of the incorrect IP address. Nigel received an apology in writing from Hertfordshire Police, who also settled out of court for £60,000 damages plus legal costs.
This man lost his livelihood but received only two and a half year’s wages. He now suffers post-traumatic stress disorder and is still unemployed. Nigel struggles to sleep and is hyper-vigilant around people. What a sad, sad story.