In the Media

Rapist who won ?5m on lottery jailed for claiming benefits

PUBLISHED July 24, 2012

Edward Putman, 46, wrote a letter to the authorities begging for money and claiming he feared he was going to die, had no money to buy food and was on the brink of being evicted.

What he failed to tell the Department for Work and Pensions and his local authority, however, is that he had stashed millions away in a secret bank account, and had splashed out money on two sports cars and a new £500,000 house.

Yesterday a judge said that Putman's claims amounting to £13,000 were so serious and his "culpability so grave" that normal sentencing guidelines for benefit fraud had "little application" to this case, and jailed him for nine months.

He said his greed "defies belief, especially in an economic climate when welfare budgets are being cut and those who are properly entitled are struggling to make ends meet".

Judge Andrew Bright QC added that Putman's claims were "a pack of lies from start to finish" and that he was "motivated by sheer greed".

Putman was sentenced to seven years for raping a 17-year-old girl in 1991. His victim was punched so hard she said she thought her head would 'cave in'.

He won £5 million on the National Lottery in September 2009, nine years after he began receiving income support on the basis of being incapacitated by anxiety. He declined publicity so that he could keep his fortune a secret from friends and family.

In order to claim benefits he needed proof from his doctor of his mental health problems, and signed a document confirming that he would notify the authorities if his condition changed.

When he failed to attend a medical check-up in 2009, his benefits were suspended, before being officially ended in April the following year.

In July 2010 he wrote to the DWP, begging them to reinstate his benefits. He claimed he did not attend the medical examination because he was too ill.

"I lost a lot of weight and had lot to deal with," wrote Putman, of Kings Langley, Herts. "I didn't know whether I would still be alive. I'm on the brink of being evicted."

He also wrote to Dacorum Borough Council saying that he had been forced to survive on handouts from his family and friends, and had not been able to pay his council tax or rent, apart from putting £200 towards it, which he had borrowed from his family.

As a result his benefits were reinstated and also backdated, as he had asked them to be, to January 2010.

However, suspicions were raised in October that year when Putman tried to buy his council house with £84,000 in cash.

Subsequent checks found he had one account with £100,000 in it and that he also had an account with St James's Bank, the bank recommended to lottery winners by the operator Camelot.

Its records showed that, on September 10 2009, two sums of cash were paid in; one for just over £2.5 million, and the other for £2.4 million, St Albans Crown Court heard.

Putman, who admitted fraud and has paid the money he claimed back, claimed a total of £4,809 from Dacorum Borough Council between September 2009 and October 2010 for housing and council tax benefit, and £8,033 from the DWP between September 2009 and May last year for income support.

Outside court, Sherri Bexon-Morgan, a DWP investigator, said that "hard working families across the country" would be outraged by Putman.