He claimed his home was vandalised, his friends shunned him and he lost his £100,000-a-year career helping to fix a $1 billion expansion project in Habshan Abu Dhabi in the UAE for energy firm GASCO.Mr Maughan, now 65, said: “I went from having a great career and a loving home life to a situation which cannot get much worse. How I’m still living is beyond me, I’ve just lived day by day by day and it’s all been put on me at no fault of my own.”The mistakes police made during their inquiries were unforgivable and left me walking around my own hometown thinking ‘is anyone looking at me?’ and all the major electrical engineering projects I was involved with were immediately and totally trashed by Durham Constabulary.”To get this result now against an uphill battle with the police who were determined to defend the case against them no matter what, feels like a miracle and should now clear my name in the eyes of the public and allow me to get on with rebuilding the rest of my life.”The investigation began in January 2008 when a friend of Mr Maughan’s partner called police to claim she has found the images whilst looking on the laptop.He had already left the the UK to work in Dubai for four months but officers seized the computer and arrested Mr Maughan on return to the UK the following April.He was quizzed and charged with 18 offences and a detective filed a report wrongly stating there were no viruses on the computer.But Mr Maughan instructed a computer expert who found 251 separate viruses and blamed the appearance of the images on “spyware.”A police computer expert was also instructed and also uncovered the malware. Mr Maughan was on bail for over a year after a £10,000 surety was offered by his father but he was ordered to give up his passport making it impossible for him to return to work.The charges were dropped at Durham Crown Court in May 2009 after prosecutors studied the expert reports and he sought £200,000 from police for aggravated damages.He said: “I cannot stress the magnitude of the overall stress and effect this has had on myself and my family. My partner has gone through hell and the torment she has had to endure is unimaginable – yet she stuck by me throughout.”It seemed the police were determined to use taxpayers’ cash to defend themselves leave me a broken man. I have gone from earning a good salary to receiving pension credits.”Whilst I’m pleased to get some financial recourse the amount of money is an insult after what we’ve been through. If the proper tests had been done at the time then we would not be here now.”I got named locally as a man who had indecent images and it was humiliating. One night at 1am a brick came through my window. Even though I cleared my name it feels like mud sticks and I’m not going to able to work anymore after what happened.”Everything I worked for which put me in such a good position had all been trashed now. We could have had a nice life, I worked for it and earned it and it was totally wasted.”In his report, computer expert Jonathan Wheatley said: “In my 15 years as an IT professional, I have never experienced a computer so heavily infected with malicious software.”It is difficult to establish with any degree of certainty the nature of the damage which may have been done during the time that the computer was in operation. An unprotected computer on the internet is vulnerable to many and varied forms of attack.”In legal documents from Leeds County Court, Durham Police agreed to pay £35,000 but did not admit liability.A force spokesman said: “Following the pursuit of a civil claim against Durham Constabulary after the arrest of a man in 2008, the force and the individual in the case have come to an agreement to settle the matter out of court.” John and partner Teresa McManners in 2009 on holiday in EgyptCredit:Allan Bentley/Cavendish An innocent businessman wrongly branded a paedophile when child abuse images were found on his laptop has won a damages payout from police after it emerged a virus was to blame.British electrical engineer John Maughan had been working in Abu Dhabi when he was contacted by detectives ordering him to return home as 609 indecent images had been discovered on his computer back home.Officers seized the device and on his return to the country Mr Maughan was charged with possessing indecent images and sent for trial. Whilst I’m pleased to get some financial recourse the amount of money is an insult after what we’ve been through. If the proper tests had been done at the time then we would not be here nowJohn Maughan But the case against the innocent grandfather collapsed when an independent examination of the computed revealed it contained 251 potentially toxic files – including 55 Trojan viruses – which wasn’t picked up by officers.It emerged the files were inadvertently downloaded when a friend of Mr Maughan’s long-term partner went to check the computer over mistaken claims he was having an affair.The subsequent infection – which occurred whilst the businessman was working abroad – caused a string of explicit images to spread onto the device’s hard drive.Mr Maughan, from Bishop Auckland, later sued Durham Police for malicious prosecution after it emerged a detective investigating the case insisted no virus had been found on the laptop – only for the force to instruct an expert who admitted the computer was in fact riddled with malware.After an eight-year legal battle he was awarded £15,000 compensation plus £20,000 costs in an out-of-court settlement.Whilst fighting to clear his name Mr Maughan’s father passed away and his partner of 35 years, Theresa McManners was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and was admitted to a nursing home. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.