Social security chiefs were to pay ‘substantial damages’ to a Havant man whose life was torn apart when he and his son were falsely accused of fathering the same child.
David James and his son, also called David, were the victims of a catalogue of bureaucratic mistakes.
The 61-year-old, of Catherington Way, Leigh Park, suffered a mental breakdown after he received a summons demanding maintenance for a child in Gloucester in 1992.
His wife immediately walked out on him, believing he had had an affair.
Gloucester County Court later admitted it had made a mistake – based on wrong information supplied by the DSS – but sent its apology to Mr James’ neighbour.
As Mr James began to repair his relationship with his wife and family, the Child Support Agency repeated the same blunder with his son, David, 30.
Mr James senior accepted ‘substantial damages and costs’ from the department of social security in an out-of-court settlement, two days before the case was due to go to court.
But he and his wife Daphne, 58, said no amount of money would ever compensate for their suffering and the damage caused to their relationship.