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Stepmum faces hefty legal bill after stepson wins €560k Lotto jackpot case

The judge found the evidence of Mary Walsh to be ‘not credible’ and ‘unreliable’.

Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

THE HIGH COURT has ruled in favour of a Co Galway man who had sued his step mother seeking a one sixth share of a €3.38 million Lotto win.

Justice Richard Humphreys ruled that David Walsh was part of a syndicate and was a co-owner of a winning ticket and was entitled to approximately €560,000 share of the jackpot.

David Walsh, who was one of six signatories on the back of the winning ticket, sued his step mother Mary Walsh, who was married to his late father Peter Walsh, claiming he was entitled to a one sixth share.

The judge said evidence given by Mary Walsh during the seven day hearing was inconsistent, “not credible”, contained “self contradiction” and was “unreliable”.

Outside court following the ruling a clearly delighted Mr Walsh smiled at members of the media.

In his action he claimed his late father had told him, shortly after the win, he would be looked after and would not have to worry about money again. However he claimed he did not get his share.

Mary Walsh opposed the claim and argued that she was the sole owner of the winning ticket, which was bought in Ballinasloe on 22 January 2011.

Gift tax

She had claimed that she, her late husband and four of their relatives had signed the back of the ticket to avoid paying gift tax.

The court heard Mary Walsh’s son Jason received €300,000, her son Tony Stg£380,000 (about €456,000) while Kevin Black, a nephew of Peter Walsh received €100,000.

She also said David Walsh 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. David Walsh denied that.

The transfer of the property, which has been valued at €135,000, was completed in December 2011 when Peter Walsh died.

Following the conclusion of evidence on what was the seventh day of the hearing Justice Humphreys said he accepted evidence tendered by David Walsh as being credible.

This was in contrast to evidence tendered by his step mother which the judge said had given evidence that was “fundamentally inconsistent” and she “lied on oath”.

While it had initially been denied by the defendant there was an acceptance during her evidence that David Walsh was a co owner of the ticket.

Intention

The judge said he was satisfied from the evidence that after it was discovered they had the winning ticket there was an intention that three members of Mary Walsh’s family and three members of the late Peter Walsh’s family would benefit from the win.

The judge also said that it had been admitted that the ticket was to be 50-50 between Mary Walsh and her late husband.

The judge did not accept that Mary Walsh was the sole owner of the winning ticket nor did the court accept her claim that her stepson had been offered the house instead of €200,000.

Given the valuation of the house, it did not make sense that David Walsh would do himself out of €65,000, the judge said. The judge also found that the transfer of the house had nothing to do with the lotto win.

He said there was no mention of the lotto win or that the transfer was being done as a result of the win in the file of the solicitor who handled that transaction.

The judge also said he was satisfied from the evidence that Mary Walsh had lied on a sworn statement to Revenue when extracting probate following her husband’s death.

She had made a conscious decision to swear a false affidavit, where details including the number of children the late Peter Walsh had and details about joint assets were omitted, for the purpose of hiding assets from her stepchildren.

The judge said that he did not accept Mrs Walsh’s explanation that the omissions were “made in error”.

A stay on the judge’s order was placed on terms including she lodge €929,000 to cover legal costs and the award in court, pending an appeal.

The judge also made a temporary freezing order preventing her from reducing below that sum. Liberty to vary that order was also granted by the judge.

Read: Stepson suing stepmother for share of Lotto win had his signature on back of ticket >

Read: Applegreen where winning Euromillions ticket was sold runs out of cheap petrol >

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Aodhan O Faolain

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