The Truth Of Netherlia’s ‘Death’

Published 6th January 2010

Of all the articles that have been written for The Mare’s Nest, this one has proven to be the most unpleasant to write, simply because it demonstrates only too well how low some people will sink online.

Most of you are already aware of Netherlia’s behaviour on the EA board, their history of starting up contests and never finishing them, and we came into December 2009 with history repeating itself with Netherlia vanishing when they were supposed to be running two different contests.

On New Year’s Eve 2009, on the EA forum, the following shocking posts appeared on the two competition threads which Netherlia had left abandoned for several weeks without explanation:

Needless to say, those that had been involved in the competitions were naturally upset at the news.

JKTee511 followed this up with by posting up a chat that he’d had with the person claiming to be Netherlia’s daughter (we are assuming this was through the Secret Sims Society chat – though it could have been direct. Either way, JKTee511 failed to elaborate on where this chat took place).

Please pay particular attention to the name stated of Drew and the date of death as being the 17th December – it’s important:

At which point we would like to thank JKTee511 for this post, for it proved to be a crucial piece of evidence for what we were about to unfold (he will be so pleased at knowing this, but screw him if he’s all humpty about it!)

A couple of things grabbed our attention from the outset. First of all, the person ‘Netherlia’s daughter’ chose to speak to was of all people the person she’d rather notoriously flamed in a particularly vicious manner on the EA forum back on the 11th November 2009.

There are some coincidences that are a bit too convenient.

The next thing was that she was posting there at the same time she was posting over on the EA forum according to the time line. Rather well organised for a grieving daughter about two forums she should have known little about, in each case requiring password logins.

Of course, most people have password manager software that automatically fills such details in whenever one visits websites requiring authentification – even so, it did seem to us remarkable that Netherlia’s daughter was able to work her way so well around two websites that ought to have been new to her on what we assume was her mother’s computer to post in both at once.

Secondly, this was the first anyone had ever heard of about Netherlia being being a mother. And if she was, her behaviour certainly flew in the face of some of her previous posts – for example staying up until 4.45am to post on the Internet:

Of course, it could have been that her family were all grown up, but from her previous behaviour, the impression was certainly that of someone that was young, and we found it hard to believe that a mother with a young family to look after would be sitting up until dawn posting on the internet.

Thirdly, when JKTee511 mentioned that everyone had been asking about her disappearence on the main forum, she asked ‘Really? What’s been said?’, when she was on the website at the time posting on the relevent threads! Why would Netherlia’s daughter ask such a question – unless what she was really wanting to find out was ‘what’s being said about me.’

Fourthly – when JKTee511 mentioned that ‘Netherlia’ never got to see Lady Gaga, Netherlia’s daughter replied that ‘she hadn’t finished her will. But the tickets were left.’ Anyone dealing with the estate of someone recently deceased would know very well that tickets to a poxy pop concert would not be of the slightest concern to either a solicitor called to sort out the estate or to The Crown- whether they were intestate or not!

First Signs That Netherlia’s ‘death’ wasn’t true

Going on Netherlia’s past behaviour, we decided that it was time to look back upon our Blog Stats: one of the features of which is that we can see what search engine terms have been used to find us.

As we’d mentioned before on 16th December, we’d long held the suspicion that Netherlia was behind most of these searches, and as we’d also mentioned all those referrals to here created by people searching for the term ‘Netherlia’ had abruptly ended on 7th December: the same day as Netherlia had ceased posting on the EA forum.

We didn’t even receive any referrals from bewildered contestants of her two contests searching the net wondering where ‘she’ had disappeared to.

However, our own logs showed that after this long silence, on 29th December – two days before the announcement of Netherlia’s death – there was a referral to here from someone using the search term Mare’s Nest Netherlia.

(and no, we’ve no idea why Bacardi or Super pogimon referred to here either)

Now the first question is who would be putting in such a search engine term?

If it was one of the contestants, why not simply come here and use the search engine provided? It wasn’t as if we were unknown – ironically Netherlia had made sure of that insofar as her contestants were concerned!

The next question is that if it was a contestant, why search over the net for Mare’s Nest Netherlia anyway? Why not simply Netherlia?

The only logical explanation would be if it was a very much alive Netherlia looking to see if any other Sims forums had picked up on our warning of the 16th December that once again ‘she’ had flounced off and left two competitions in the lurch.

At this point, we decided it was time to get to the truth, once and for all.

Starting the investigation into the ‘late’ Netherlia

The first problem that we had was that it would be impossible to get in touch with any of the people in the Simmers world that had been in contact with Netherlia or her ‘daughter’ for elaboration as to what they’d been told without immediately alerting people to the fact that we smelled a rat – and discretion was very much called for here.

Some would naturally be upset at us not taking ‘Netherlia’s daughter’s’ word at face value – and were more than conscious of the fact that those with axes to grind with The Mare’s Nest would misuse any such enquiries we made for their own ends – one of them of course being JKTee511, who seems to have thrown any rationality out of the window as far anything to do with this blog is concerned of late.

So, we were on our own: with two tasks to perform.

1. Find information identifying the true identity of Netherlia.

2. With this, find information confirming that Netherlia’s death had or had not occured.

Netherlia muddy paw prints crops up in a number of places on the net, and it was no surprise to find ‘her’ on the Lady Gaga website, considering ‘she’ made no secret of being such a big fan in the Simmers world:

NB: 'She' is listed as a HE - and a 24 year old male.

The first piece of evidence that someone was not exactly what they said they were – Netherlia listed as being male.

Another interesting fact about this individual on the Lady Gaga site is that they were listed as having made three posts, but only one turned up when we searched the site. Certain websites (particularly graphic-gimmicky heavy ones like Lady Gaga’s!) do not have a dynamic link between someone’s posts and the box stating how many posts have been made, because it slows the site down, relying instead on a primitive counter ‘click’ upwards every time that person makes a post. So had the posts on the Lady Gaga site been deleted later for whatever reason, their post count would be higher than the number anyone could find on-site.

Had someone gone back to the site recently and deleted off two posts that would have incriminated them as being very much alive and well past the time of their death? We will never know now.

Of course, the listing as ‘male’ may have been an error – people in their haste to sign up for a forum make that sort of mistake all the time (and on many forums you cannot rectify it!) – but it occured elsewhere, somewhere a bit nearer to Simmer’s hearts at Mod The Sims:

Once, a mistake perhaps. But twice?

It could of course be that these were two entirely unconnected online alias.

However, JKTee511’s conversation with Netherlia’s supposed daughter had provided a name that proved invaluable – that of Drew – as events transpired.

One quick search of the internet for Netherlia, and without even looking for a connection, the two names cropped up together:

Well, whatdayaknow? Someone called ‘Drew’ that just happened to link straight to a search for Netherlia!

Coincidence?

So we decided to have a look at this ‘Drew Richards’ that was linking to the name Netherlia in detail:

Unmasking Netherlia

What many people don’t realise when they sign up to social networking sites is that even if they use a different ‘public’ name on the site, if they have used another one entirely when completing the registration forms, it can still be found on the net by sites such as 123People listed in the screenshot above.

You’d be amazed how far your details will be sold on down the line to other companies, no matter how many privacy boxes you tick (the devil’s in the detail, particularly those Terms Of Service we all scroll through at 100 miles an hour and never read).

Hence the reason why the term ‘Netherlia’ was cropping up in a search for people called ‘ Drew Richards’.

The first one for us to check out was the one that came up with the public name of Netherlia:

This said ‘she’ was a 15 year old from Ilkeston in Derbyshire that had last logged in on 16th August 2008 (and therefore had abandoned it). That alone made the story about her daughter logging in to tell everyone about her mother’s death rather dubious.

When we checked though the linking ‘Drew Richards’, it told a slightly different story:

Face blanked out for obvious reasons

This time they were a 14 year old male from Derbyshire. It could have of course be a coincidence, although you will notice that it too has been abandoned since the day after it was created on April 2009 – and who else do we know with a history of starting things on the net and then abandoning them?

It was the final linking one – abandoned shortly before the second one – that proved the clincher:

So here we have someone that loves Lady Gaga, gives their age as being 24 (same as on the Lady Gaga site profile), but then admits in the General Information section that they in fact 10 years younger (same as the second of the three MySpace profiles we’ve listed), and lives in Ilkeston.

Oh, and for good measure happens to be hooked on Big Brother, such as a certain Netherlia was to the extent of running Sims BB contests.

All remarkable coincidences? We think not.

We have blanked out Netherlia’s school for obvious reasons, but left in the projected leaving age to confirm their age band to you, which would be concurrent with the minimum leaving age in the United Kingdom of 16.

But why the lie about their age? Our guess was Netherlia/Drew Richards did this in order to join websites that block registration to anyone 14 years or younger – or simply because they didn’t want to be ‘treated as a kid’ by other users. Had we the slightest suspicion that this person was in fact a 24 year old masquerading as a child – rather than the other way round – you would not have been reading about any of this for quite some time as our first priority would instead have been in informing the police. Adults pretending to be children online tends to set alarm bells ringing over here in Blighty – with good reason.

Whatever the case, we had now enough information to work on the premise that Netherlia was in fact not somebody’s mother, and that the ‘Drew’ that JKTee511 had spoken to on New Year’s Eve online had in fact been Netherlia/Drew Richards himself, not ‘Netherlia’s daughter’.

That left us with one final mystery to clear up.

The Accident That Never Was

In England and Wales, any fatal car accident – even if it occurs to a British national abroad – results in a Coroner’s inquest. This is standard procedure for any deaths that occur in what the law terms ‘an unnatural way’.

These are treated as routine police investigations, and as part of the normal liason between the police and the media, such information is passed over to journalists from the local Police’s press office (most ‘journalism’ these days is little more than taking press releases given, then following up on them in order to pad the ‘story’ out, particularly in the ‘local rags’).

Such a ‘human interest’ story – especially that of a family becoming bereaved so close to Christmas – would have been guaranteed coverage in Netherlia’s local paper whether the family liked it or not.

One of The Mare’s Nest trio contacted the Derby Telegraph – the largest circulation newspaper within Derbyshire county (part of the Northcliffe wing of the Daily Mail group) – well over a fortnight after Netherlia’s alleged death and plenty of time – even if it had occured abroad – for it to have reached the attention of the local media, whether from the family, a neighbour, the police or the publication of the Coroner’s inquest.

Journalists even for local newspapers have access to a large computerised database of all articles and information they have about local and national events, whether or not they published anything from the information stored, and the girl at the Derby Telegraph newsdesk was good enough to try a number of search terms.

They confirmed that there had been no fatal car accidents involving a mother, or anyone by the surname of Richards, or anyone either from Ilkeston or within Ilkeston within the past month.

The closest to a ‘match’ was that of a 55 year old lorry driver, David Ward, from Ilkeston on 3rd December 2009 – the accident itself occuring in County Durham. This news also appeared in a rival newspaper, the Ilkeston Advertiser (part of the Johnston Press Group) on 7th December 2009.

Conclusion

So why did Netherlia come back and tell such a pack of lies that caused a number of people real unhappiness? We already know from past experience that he is a bit of a drama queen, as well as being unreliable.

Our guess is that on the 29th December, he toyed with the idea of picking up the threads of their Sims3 interest they’d abandoned earlier in the month, saw that their moribund contests were being taken over by others to continue anyway and that we’d called them out as having let so many down yet again, and so decided out of childish spite that it would be far more fun to go out with a bang they hoped would make people feel guilty for ever thinking the worst of them.

And what better way than a tragic untimely death leaving a grieving daughter behind?

Suffice to say as far as we’re concerned Netherlia is beneath contempt for trying to pull a sick stunt as this as a parting shot. But, as those on Crazy Town would probably mutter, ‘It’s the internet, people!’ It’s not the first time, nor will it be the last.

Apparantly Netherlia was showing up in the Final Fantasy world in late November, shortly before vanishing from the Simmers world, and where we guess he has returned to.

They are welcome to this nasty little piece of work as far as we’re concerned – we’ve enough shit-the-beds around as it is.

Good riddance to bad rubbish!

Postscript:

Netherlia reappeared in the Sims world on 15th April 2010.

Told you so, didn’t we?