herald

Wednesday 23 August 2017

Man suing stepmother over Lotto win denies 'house or €200k' claim

David Walsh Picture: Collins
David Walsh Picture: Collins

A man suing his stepmother for a €560,000 share of a €3.38m Lotto win has denied he was given a choice between a house or €200,000 from the jackpot.

David Walsh told the High Court he went to the home of his father Peter and stepmother Mary Walsh at Knocknagreena, Ballinasloe, Co Galway, on January 23, 2011, when his father asked him to sign the back of a winning Lotto ticket.

His father had told him to bring Champagne and "told me I'd have nothing to worry about for the rest of my life," he said.

He said Mrs Walsh was standing close to him when he signed the ticket and had not claimed she owned it.

Jackpot

The €12 ticket at the centre of the case, sold at Salmons Department Store, Main Street, Ballinasloe, was one of two winning tickets for a Lotto jackpot of about €6.7m drawn on January 22, 2011.

Mrs Walsh (65), of Perssepark, Ballinasloe, disputes Mr Walsh's claim he was in a syndicate that owned the ticket and is entitled to a one-sixth share.

Mr Walsh (52) claims his late father, his cousin Kevin Black, Mrs Walsh and her sons Anthony and Jason Daly were also part of the syndicate. He claims his signature is on the back of the ticket, and Mrs Walsh and the estate of his late father hold the €560,000 in trust for him.

His case against Mrs Walsh opened yesterday before Mr Justice Richard Humphreys. The judge was shown the disputed winning ticket with six signatures on the back.

In evidence, Mr Walsh said he was one of four children whose parents separated in the 1980s. His father later married Mrs Walsh, a divorcee.

He was told on January 23, 2011, that his father had "won" the Lotto. The winning numbers related to the dates of birth and death of members of his father's family, Mr Walsh said.

Asked about claims by Mrs Walsh he had been given a choice of €200,000 from the win or the home at Knocknagreena, worth €135,000, Mr Walsh said it had not happened.

After the Lotto win, his father and Mrs Walsh bought another home and their house at Knocknagreena was transferred to him, he said. He had also understood he would get one sixth of the Lotto win.

He said his signature was also on a National Lottery claim form authorising payment of the cheque to Mrs Walsh. That form, it is claimed, is proof all the signatories are entitled to the winnings tax-free.

In her defence, Mrs Walsh claims she bought and owned the winning ticket. She also says she was advised by the company then operating the National Lottery that getting the other signatures on the ticket would avoid payment of gift tax.

Should the court rule in favour of Mr Walsh, he would be unjustly enriched in circumstances where the Knocknagreena house was transferred to him, she claims.

The case continues.

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