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 told the court she was the sole winner of the lottery prize and the first she heard about her stepson David Walsh claiming a €560,000 share of the €3.38m Lotto win of January 22, 2011, was in a solicitors letter sent on her stepson’s behalf in mid-2013.
Giving evidence before Mr Justice Richard Humphreys on what was the fifth day of the action Mrs Walsh said she had played the Lotto regularly.
She said she bought tickets on behalf of a four-person syndicate at the barber’s she and her late husband Peter Walsh operated, a ticket for her husband and her own ticket.
She said that it wasn’t until late on the Sunday night following the draw on January 22 when she realised that she was the owner of one of two tickets that had won the previous night’s jackpot. She told her counsel Michael Delaney after she checked the numbers online, she woke her husband Peter, who at the time had cancer and told him “I think I have won the Lotto.”
Mrs Walsh said that her win was confirmed after she contacted and spoke with an official with the National Lottery the next morning.
Following advice she said she received from the National Lottery official about gifting any winnings to family members she said she got several relatives of theirs to sign the back of the ticket.
This was 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 £380,000 (about €456,000) and Kevin Black a nephew of her husband to whom she gave €100,000.
She said David Walsh, who also signed the back of the ticket was offered the option of having €200,000 from the Lotto win or the former home that she and her late husband shared at Knocknagreena, Ballinasloe and opted for the house. Mr Walsh denies that.
The transfer of the property, which has been valued at €135,000, was completed in December 2011 around the time Peter Walsh died.
She said David Walsh never spoke to her about the Lotto being won by a syndicate and the first she heard about that claim was in a solicitor’s letter she received in mid-2013.
Under cross-examination by Dervla Browne, counsel for David Walsh, Mrs Walsh said she told the official at the National Lottery on the day that she had the win confirmed that the winning ticket was hers.
Counsel had put it to her that two National Lottery communications described the winners as a “seven- person syndicate” from Co Galway.
Mrs Walsh also accepted that a sworn statement filed on her behalf to Revenue in 2012, done so she could extract probate, did not include details including the number of Peter Walsh’s children or details about joint bank accounts they had held together.
The form, which could be viewed by anyone claiming an interest in the late Mr Walsh’s estate, was completed to obtain a €50,000 which was in a bank account in Peter Walsh’s name. She accepted details were omitted, including that Peter Walsh had four children from his previous marriage and details about assets they had held jointly. She said details were “not material” because Peter Walsh had left her everything in his will, which was signed in 2007.
She denied the affidavit contained lies and that any omissions were made “in error” and that she didn’t accept that she had anything to hide from Peter Walsh’s four children.
David Walsh, aged 52, of Knocknagreena, Ballinasloe claims he is entitled to a one sixth share of the windfall. He claims that as his signature is among six signatures on the back of the ticket, and Mary Walsh and the estate of his late father hold the €560,000 in trust for him.
Ms Walsh, aged 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 syndicate that won the €3.38m prize or that she holds €560,000 in trust for him.
The case continues.
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