Saturday 22 July 2017

Man suing stepmother over €3.4m Lotto win says she 'laughed at him' when he asked for share

Mary Walsh pictured leaving Dublin High Court, where her stepson David Walsh has brought proceedings against her claiming he is entitled to a one sixth share of a €3.38m Lotto prize. Photo: Collins Courts
Mary Walsh pictured leaving Dublin High Court, where her stepson David Walsh has brought proceedings against her claiming he is entitled to a one sixth share of a €3.38m Lotto prize. Photo: Collins Courts

Tim Healy

A man has told a court his stepmother “laughed at me” when he asked her, some months after his father’s death, for a one sixth share of a €3.38m Lotto win.

“She laughed at me and said I got the house and that was that,” David Walsh said.

He denied suggestions there was no basis for his claim to a one sixth share of the Lotto win of January 2011.

He agreed he had not contributed to the €12 cost of the winning ticket but denied he had falsely claimed that ticket was his father’s because he was disappointed he got nothing in his father's will and all was left to his stepmother.

The numbers used on the ticket reflected birthdays of his father’s siblings and other dates of significance to his father, he said.

Mr Walsh (52), of Knocknagreena, Ballinasloe, Co Galway, was being cross-examined in his High Court action against his stepmother Mary Walsh for a €560,000 share of the €3.38m Lotto win of January 22, 2011.

His is among six signatures on the back of the winning ticket, sold in Ballinasloe. The court has been told the other signatures were Mary Walsh, her late husband Peter Walsh, his nephew Kevin Black, and Mrs Walsh’s sons Jason and Tony.

Ms Walsh (65), of Perssepark, Ballinasloe, who is being sued personally and as personal representative of Peter Walsh’s estate, denies David Walsh was part of a six person syndicate that won the €3.38m prize or that she holds €560,000 in trust for him. 

She claims she bought and owned the winning ticket, intended to make gifts from the prize and was advised having the potential beneficiaries sign the back of the ticket would avoid them having to pay tax on those gifts.

The court heard various cheques were sent on behalf of Mrs Walsh to some of those signatories, including a €300,000 cheque to her son Jason; one for Stg£380,000 (about €456,000) to her son Tony, who lives in Wales and one for €100,000 to Kevin Black.

Ms Walsh claims David Walsh was offered the option of having €200,000 from the Lotto win or the former home of herself and his late father at Knocknagreena and opted for the house.  Mr Walsh, who obtained a €135,000 valuation for the house in 2013, denies that.

Earlier, Mr Walsh told his counsel Dervla Browne SC his solicitors in August 2013 received a letter from the National Lottery confirming he was a member of a six person syndicate that won €3.38m.

Under cross-examination by Michael Delaney SC, for Ms Walsh, he denied he never verbally raised with Ms Walsh the issue of getting a share of the Lotto win.

He said he raised the issue with her three times after his father died on December 26, 2011. On the third occasion, about May 2012, she laughed at him, said he got the house and that was that, he said.

He denied he was asked to sign the ticket when it was contemplated he might get a money gift out of the Lotto win and said there was no such discussion.

It was not true to say he did not get a gift because he opted for the house instead, which was jointly owned by his father and Ms Walsh, and was now making an "opportunistic" claim.

He maintained he signed the ticket on the morning of Sunday January 23, 2011, at his father’s house after his father told him he had won the Lotto and asked him to call to the house.

Mr Delaney put to him that could not have happened because Ms Walsh only discovered she won the Lotto on the Sunday night after which she lodged the ticket in the bank the next morning. Mr Walsh said there was definitely a gathering that Sunday morning and he had signed the ticket.

His father told him he was getting his “share” of the winnings, he said. His own view was he was getting one sixth and the house. Asked why it took him until 2013 to initiate legal action, he said he was reluctant to go to court.

He denied he was disconnected for years from his father after his parents separated in the 1980s.

The case  resumes on January 26.

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