He says he likely threw out the hard drive sometime over the summer, and only recently remembered what was on it.
“You know when you put something in the [trash], and in your head, say to yourself ‘that’s a bad idea’? I really did have that,” Howells, who works in IT, told the Guardian.
He later spilled lemonade on that laptop, so he dismantled it for parts, keeping the hard drive in a drawer for three years.
The drive contains the cryptographic “key” that is necessary to access and spend the Bitcoins.
Without that key, the “money” cannot be spent and is lost forever.
It was just this past summer that he went through his belongings and threw out the hard drive, thinking it was junk.