Wednesday 13 December 2017

Man suing stepmother over €3.4m Lotto win 'signed the back of the ticket' - court hears

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

Aodhan O'Faolain

A man suing his stepmother for a €560,000 share of a €3.38m Lotto win received a letter from the National Lottery confirming he was a member of a six person syndicate that won €3.38m, the High Court has heard.

David Walsh said his solicitors got that letter in August 2013 from a claims manager with the company then operating the National Lottery.

He believed he was entitled to one sixth of the cheque because he had signed the back of the winning ticket. He also believed his entitlement did not depend on the contents of his deceased father’s will, he said.

He was giving further evidence in his action against his stepmother Mary Walsh, whom he is suing personally and also in her capacity as personal representative of the estate of her late husband, Peter Walsh, father of David Walsh.

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

The court has been shown the winning ticket sold in Ballinasloe. The signatures of David Walsh, Mary Walsh and Peter Walsh – who died later in 2011 - are among six signatures on the back of that ticket, the court heard.

Mary Walsh (65), of Perssepark, Ballinasloe, denies David Walsh’s claim he was part of a six person syndicate that won the €3.38m prize and is entitled to a one sixth share of that sum.

She claims she bought and owned that ticket. She also claims she intended to make gifts from the winnings and was advised signatures on the back of the ticket would avoid the signatories having to pay tax on those gifts. The court has heard various cheques, including some substantial cheques, were sent on behalf of Mrs Walsh to some of those signatories.

Today, Dervla Browne SC, for David Walsh, (52), of Knocknagreena, Ballinasloe, said part of his case is Mary Walsh made efforts to “hide” the Lotto monies from him after she collected the €3.38m cheque from the National Lottery.

In his evidence, David Walsh said he went to the home of his father Peter and Mary Walsh at Knocknagreena, Ballinasloe on the morning of Sunday January 23rd 2011. His father had phoned him about 8.30 or 9am that morning, said he was after winning the Lotto and to come over to the house and bring champagne.

He said he was asked by his father to sign the winning ticket and he did so along with others.

Under cross-examination, he denied there was no gathering in the house that Sunday morning.

Michael Delaney SC, for Ms Walsh, said there could not have been any gathering because she had not discovered she won the Lotto until the Sunday night after which she lodged the ticket in the bank the next morning. Counsel also put to him he had not been asked to sign the back of the ticket that day. 

Mr Walsh said there was definitely a gathering that Sunday morning and he had signed the ticket.

When it was put to him he signed the ticket a few days later and he was given the option of taking either the Knocknagreena house or €200,000 from the Lotto win, he said that was not true. Earlier, he said he had had the house valued at €135,000.

He said the signatures of Mary Walsh, his father and his cousin Kevin Black were on the back of the ticket before he signed it. He agreed he did not see anyone else sign it.

His father told him he was getting his “share” of the winnings, he said. His own view was he was getting one sixth as well as the house.

In the few days after the win, Mrs Walsh’s son Tony Daly had flown home from England and he also signed the back of the cheque. He understood her other son Jason had earlier signed the cheque but had not seen him do so.

He said he did not get on with Mrs Walsh. Before the win, there was a division of sorts in the family as he, his cousin Kevin Black “always stood” with his father while Mrs Walsh’s two sons always stood with her, he said.

The case continues before Mr Justice Richard Humphreys.

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