‘Lotto Rapist’ Claims Malicious Prosecution in £2.5 Million Fraud Trial
Posted on: October 17, 2018, 10:30h.
Last updated on: October 17, 2018, 07:40h.
A UK lottery winner charged with faking his ticket to win a £2.5 million ($3.27 million) jackpot almost ten years ago pleaded not guilty to one count of fraud by false representation during a hearing at St Albans Magistrate Court on Tuesday. Edward Putman, 53, believes he is being “maliciously prosecuted,” his lawyer said.
Putman was dubbed “the Lotto Rapist” by tabloids after his windfall because he served nine years in prison in the 1990s for the violent rape of a 17-year-old girl. He also has convictions for unlawful wounding and welfare fraud.
An investigation into allegations that Putman had presented a doctored ticket to National Lottery provider Camelot in September 2009 was initially dropped by police because Camelot had lost a key piece of evidence — the ticket.
But a 2016 investigation by the UK Gambling Commission concluded it was “more likely than not” the fraud had occurred. The regulator fined Camelot £3 million ($393 million) for paying out on a ticket that it believed had been deliberately damaged and falsified, but conceded Putman would probably get to keep the money.
In September, apparently unaware that the police investigation had been reopened, Putman was suddenly charged with fraud. It’s not clear what new evidence has come to light that has enabled prosecutors to bring a case against him, although a source who spoke to The Daily Mirror last week said that a new witness is willing to testify against Putman.
“People in the investigation have been told that someone who works at the Lottery had finally come forward,” said the source, who is described as “close to the investigation.”
“They’re the first person who has been willing to give evidence that the ticket may be fake,” the source added. “It’s a massive development because for a long time police have been starved of evidence. If he’s convicted he could be forced to hand back the cash.”
It has long been suspected that Putman committed the alleged fraud with the help from someone inside Camelot. Giles Knibbs was an IT specialist working for Camelot’s fraud department at the time, who may have fed Putman vital information about the winning ticket. Knibbs committed suicide in 2016 amid claims he was part of a plot to blackmail Putman.
Putman filmed the media on his phone as he entered the court Tuesday, his face covered by sunglasses and a black scarf and hat. Inside, he spoke only to plead not guilty and confirm his personal details.
He is due to appear at St Albans Crown Court on November 19.
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