Man sues stepmother for share of €3.38m Lotto win

David Walsh rejects claim he was offered father’s house or €200,000 from lottery prize

 

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

David Walsh told the High Court that he went to the home of his father Peter and stepmother Mary Walsh at Knocknagreena, Ballinasloe, Co Galway, on January 23rd, 2011, where 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.

There was talk of Rolex watches and a “buzz” with people coming and going to the house all day and phones ringing, he said.

He said Ms Walsh was standing about five or six feet from him when he signed the ticket and had not claimed she was the owner of the ticket.

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 €6.7 million drawn on Saturday, January 22nd, 2011. The other winning ticket was sold in Cahersiveen, Co Kerry.

Ms Walsh (65), a businesswoman, of Perssepark, Ballinasloe, disputes the claim by Mr Walsh (52), a painter/decorator, of Knocknagreena, Ballinasloe that he was part of a six-member syndicate that owned the winning ticket and was entitled to a one-sixth share.

Disputed ticket

Mr Walsh claims his late father Peter Walsh, his cousin Kevin Black, Ms Walsh, and her sons Anthony and Jason Daly were also part of the syndicate. Mr Walsh claims his signature is among six signatures on the back of the ticket and that Ms Walsh and the estate of his late father hold the €560,000 in trust for him.

His case against Ms Walsh, outlined by his counsel Dervla Browne SC, opened on Wednesday 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 Ms Walsh, a divorcee. His mother had died some years ago.

His father had told him on January 23rd, 2011 that he (his father) had “won” the Lotto. The numbers on the winning ticket related to the dates of the births and deaths of members of his father’s family, he said.

Asked about claims by Ms Walsh that he had been given a choice of having €200,000 from the Lotto win or the home of his father and Ms Walsh at Knocknagreena, valued at €135,000, Mr Walsh said that had not happened.

Signatories

After the Lotto win, his father and Ms Walsh bought another home. Their house at Knocknagreena, which was in both their names, 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 €3.38 million cheque to Ms Walsh. That form, it is claimed, is proof all the signatories are entitled to the winnings tax-free.

He said his father, who had cancer for several years before he died in late 2011, was too sick to travel with Ms Walsh and others to National Lottery headquarters to collect the cheque and he, David, remained with his father at home that day.

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

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

The case continues on Thursday.