Auto-corrected text leads to killing

A man sends a text to his friend. Unfortunately, his phone uses predictive texting and changes the spelling of a word. The resulting text so enrages the recipient that a fatal argument ensues.

Those who created predictive text software for cell phones might never have predicted this.

According to the UK's Bolton News, 33-year-old Neil Brook sent a text to Josef Witkowski, a friend he'd known for about six months.

Brook testified in court that his text to Witkowski included the word "mutter." Unfortunately, his cell phone's predictive software apparently decided he meant "nutter."

Reports don't reveal what particular brand of cell phone enjoyed this software. It is also unclear whether Brook wanted to call Witkowski "a mutter," which, in some contexts, can have a more derogatory meaning--either "bog-dweller" or "mother's boy."

However, being called insane, albeit inadvertently, caused Witkowski to become enervated.

The town of Walkden, where the killing took place. CC Gene Hunt/Flickr

Further texts were exchanged. Then Witkowski paid a visit to Brook's apartment in Walkden, Greater Manchester. A knife fight ensued, which led to Witkowski's death. Witkowski reportedly had 104 injuries on his body.

Brook was charged with murder, but the jury later convicted him of manslaughter.

The Daily Mail quoted him as saying: "He had a big kitchen knife and I pulled my knife off the door and stabbed him. I just lost it and went crazy. I thought we were mates...All over a misunderstanding over a text. I said 'mutter' not 'nutter.'"

Some might wonder what sort of nutters get into a knife fight over auto-corrected texts. Some might imagine that this could have been resolved without recourse to knives and death.

But no software has yet managed to automatically enforce a rule that, in life, things have to make sense.

 

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