Friday 15 December 2017

Winning €3m Lotto ticket 'didn't belong to syndicate'

Mary Walsh leaving the Four Courts. Photo: Collins Courts
Mary Walsh leaving the Four Courts. Photo: Collins Courts

Tim Healy

A woman being sued over a one-sixth share of a €3.38m Lotto win by her stepson has told the High Court the winning ticket was hers and did not belong to a syndicate.

Mary Walsh said she was the "sole winner" and the first she heard about David Walsh claiming a €560,000 share of the January 22, 2011, win was in a solicitor's letter sent on her stepson's behalf in mid 2013.

Giving evidence before Mr Justice Richard Humphreys on the fifth day of the action, Mrs Walsh said she played the Lotto regularly. She bought tickets on behalf of a four-person syndicate at the barber she and her late husband Peter Walsh operated, a ticket for her husband and her own ticket.

She said it wasn't until the night after the draw that she realised she was the owner of one of two tickets that had won the previous night's jackpot. She told her counsel, Michael Delaney, that after she checked the numbers she woke her husband, who at the time was suffering from cancer and told him: "I think I have won the Lotto." "He said, 'that's grand' and went back to sleep," she said.

Following advice she said she received about gifting any winnings to family members, she said she got several relatives of theirs to sign the back of the ticket so they would not have to pay tax on the win.

The signatories included Peter Walsh, her son Jason to whom she gave €300,000, her son Tony to whom she gave stg£380,000 (about €456,000) and Kevin Black, a nephew of her husband who she gave €100,000.

She said David Walsh (52), of Knocknagreena, Ballinasloe, who also signed the back of the ticket, was offered the option of having €200,000 or the former home she and her late husband shared at Knocknagreena, Ballinasloe - and he opted for the house. Mr Walsh denies this.

The transfer of the property, which has been valued at €135,000, was completed in December 2011. She said David Walsh never spoke to her about the Lotto being won by a syndicate.

Under cross-examination, she said she told a National Lottery official the ticket was hers.

Counsel had put it to her that two National Lottery communications issued shortly after she contacted them described the winners as "seven-person syndicate" from Co Galway. As far as she was concerned, the win was 50-50 between her and her husband.

The case continues.

Irish Independent

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