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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 April 2007, 15:02 GMT 16:02 UK
TV game show cheat 'persecuted'
Charles Ingram
Charles Ingram says he is coughed at wherever he goes
Quiz show fraud Charles Ingram says he has endured five years of "persecution, violence and vandalism" since being caught cheating on TV.

The ex-Army major says he and his wife have faced torrents of abuse and had their home and pets attacked 60 times.

Ingram, 43, of Easterton, Wilts, was convicted on Wednesday of assaulting a 13-year-old boy who had coughed at him.

The father-of-three used coughs to cheat his way to a 1m prize on ITV's Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? in 2001.

He used an accomplice's coughs in the audience to steer him to the right answers.

'Intimidating'

Ingram told the BBC News website the assault case was "a travesty" and said it was pursued "purely because of who I am - someone notorious".

Our dog was kicked and punched by six youths and subsequently died. Our cat was shot with an air pistol
Charles Ingram

"I'm sickened by the maliciousness of it all, but it's typical of the trouble we have suffered," he said.

Salisbury magistrates gave Ingram an absolute discharge for grabbing the boy's collar - even though the victim agreed in court that he had "made up" a lot of his evidence.

The behaviour of some youths near his home had become unbearable, Ingram said.

"We get a lot of coughing wherever we go, even when we go abroad to Spain. Generally it's good humoured, and if it gets intimidating we just walk away.

"But there's a very small minority in the local community who are really vitriolic and make our lives hell.

"Our dog was kicked and punched by six youths and subsequently died. Our cat was shot with an air pistol.

"I can't go for a run because people try to run me off the road. I know it's deliberate because they slow down afterwards and cough out of the window.

"We can't do things as a family. We can't go to the cinema because there'll be a few youths who keep coughing and coughing until we have to leave because it's ruining the film for everyone else."

'Revolting'

Ingram says his car windows have been smashed and nails put under the tyres, and on several occasions his rubbish bins have been emptied all over the street.

Rubbish and eggs have also been thrown at the house, he says - and two weeks ago, something worse.

"They threw what I can only describe as a bag of sick. It was revolting and it smelled terrible.

"Two weeks before that we found a gang of youths in our garden smashing our windows.

"Another time my wife was surrounded by six of them on bikes who wouldn't let her past and kept shouting 'bitch' and 'cheat' at her."

Ingram says he has reported about 20 of the incidents to the police, but is unable to identify those responsible.

"I don't know why they do it," he said.

"I mean, the boy in court was eight when I was in the hot seat, so I can only suppose it must be coming from the parents."

No-one from Wiltshire police was available for comment.




SEE ALSO
Game show fraud assaulted youth
11 Apr 07 |  Wiltshire
Game show cheat Ingram bankrupt
08 Dec 04 |  Wiltshire
Quiz cheat has defence costs cut
21 Oct 04 |  Wiltshire
TV quiz cheat loses his appeal
19 May 04 |  Wiltshire
The man behind the scams
28 Oct 03 |  Wiltshire



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