A FORMER Lottery worker said to have conspired with an alleged conman to fake a £2.5m winning ticket told friends about it before killing himself, a court heard.
Edward Putman, 54, is on trial for fraud by false representation after allegedly claiming the outstanding jackpot with a counterfeit ticket in 2009.
He is said to have conspired with friend Giles Knibbs – who worked in the securities department at Lottery operator Camelot – to submit a damaged fake ticket to take the winnings just before the 180-day limit to claim prizes was due to expire.
St Albans Crown Court heard Mr Knibbs told friends he had “conned” the Lottery with Putman.
John Coleyshaw said his friend Mr Knibbs told him about the plan in 2015.
Jurors previously heard Mr Knibbs felt aggrieved he did not receive his fair share of the prize from Putman and confronted the defendant in June 2015.
Mr Knibbs was subsequently arrested for burglary, blackmail and criminal damage after Putman complained to police, and he killed himself in October that year.
Mr Coleyshaw told the court that on an evening in September 2015, Mr Knibbs told him it looked like he was “going down for 10 to 15 years for blackmail”.
The court has been told Mr Knibbs had been working late one night during his time at Camelot when he saw a document being printed which contained details of big wins which had not yet been claimed.
Mr Coleyshaw said it was correct when prosecutor James Keeley said that after Mr Knibbs told Putman about this, they had “agreed to run a scam”.
Mr Keeley said: “A scam where Eddie would collect one of the winning Lottery prizes and they would split the money between them.”
Mr Coleyshaw told jurors about receiving a phone call from Mr Knibbs in which he asked if he could drop off letters at his house.
When he got home that night, there was an envelope on the door mat containing a suicide note, the court heard.
Another friend, Andrew Sales also told jurors he had revealed the alleged fraud to him.
Mr Keeley brought up a phone call from January 2015 between Mr Knibbs and Mr Sales.
“He said to you he was in a really dark place,” the prosecutor said, adding: “He said that Eddie owes him money.”
He said to you he was in a really dark place. He said that Eddie owes him money.
Prosecutor James Keeley
Mr Sales replied: “He said that, yes.”
The court heard that in early October, Mr Knibbs confessed to Mr Sales about the Lottery ticket.
He told Mr Sales he had “gone in with Eddie and he had forged a Lottery ticket” and after forging the ticket Putman claimed a win of £2.5 million, jurors heard.
The court heard Mr Sales said to Mr Knibbs: “Don’t be stupid. You can’t forge a Lottery ticket.”
Mr Sales received an envelope from Mr Knibbs containing what the prosecutor described as a “goodbye letter”.
Jurors have already heard the “genuine” winning ticket, which was bought in Worcester, has never been discovered.
The court was told Mr Knibbs claimed Putman went to 29 different shops as the clock ticked down to claim the cash, each providing a different ticket, before the right number was found.
Mr Keeley said the defendant eventually submitted the correct code at a shop in High Wycombe on August 28, 2009.
Evidence suggested Mr Knibbs was paid an initial £280,000 from Putman for his part in the alleged ruse, followed by much smaller increments totalling £50,000, Mr Keeley said.
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The police investigation was initially opened in 2015 after Mr Knibbs’s suicide but closed when Camelot was unable to locate the alleged forgery.
The case was then reopened in 2017 when the ticket was eventually located by a Camelot employee.
Putman was first arrested for fraud in October 2015. He denies fraud.
The trial is listed to last for two weeks.
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