Lottery husband loses out to wife

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The Independent Online
THE POTENTIAL pitfalls of gambling and marital breakdown were highlighted yesterday when a man was ordered to give his former wife his share of a National Lottery jackpot.

Anthony Abrahams, a bankrupt airline pilot, was a member of a 15-member syndicate that won a jackpot of more than pounds 3.6m in May 1997. However, he had often left it to his ex-wife to pay his lottery contribution. And when she asked him to reimburse her for 10 weeks of contributions, he told her she could "stick it". A few months later the syndicate struck lucky.

Yesterday his less-than- gentlemanly language cost Mr Abrahams dear when a High Court judge ordered him to give his pounds 250,000 share of the winnings to his former wife, Lotte Gunderson, 38, - doubling her win to pounds 500,000.

Until now the money has been held in a joint account in the names of solicitors for the couple's trustee in bankruptcy.

The court heard that Mr Abrahams, 48, and his wife had joined the syndicate started by the landlord of the Tudor Tavern in East Preston, West Sussex, where Ms Gunderson worked. When the couple separated Ms Gunderson continued to pay her former husband's contribution, but he refused to reimburse her.

Ms Gunderson was delighted with yesterday's ruling, but said: "It is unfortunate that it has been necessary for me to pursue this matter through the courts." Her lawyers said the case illustrated the need for lottery syndicates to have proper written rules.

The judge refused permission to take the case to the Court of Appeal and awarded legal costs estimated at pounds 50,000 against the bankruptcy trustee.