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Thursday, 20 September, 2001, 16:04 GMT 17:04 UK
Millionaire winner denies wrongdoing
Major Charles Ingram, winner
Major Charles Ingram bagged 1m on the quiz show
The man at the centre of a police investigation into the ITV quiz show Who Wants to be a Millionaire? has denied any wrongdoing.

Scotland Yard are investigating allegations that there were suspicious coughs from the audience on last week's show, when Major Charles Ingram won 1m.


The allegation was made on 14 September and no arrests have been made

Scotland Yard spokeswoman

Royal Engineers Major Ingram, 38, of Upavon, Wiltshire, is now threatening High Court proceedings against the programme's makers Celador Productions for damages.

Major Ingram said he was known to be of impeccable character and strenuously denied any suggestion that he was party to any irregularities.

Damages

He has instructed his solicitors to request Celador to specify the allegations he faces.

If this information is not forthcoming by 1600BST on Friday he said he will issue proceedings against Celador for damages.

In a statement released through his solicitors Morgan Cole, he denied cheating.

It said: "He is stunned, bewildered and devastated at the action that has been taken and feels that the effects leave his career in the Army and livelihood in tatters."

ITV has postponed screening the episode while the investigation goes ahead and the 1m cheque has not been paid.

A member of the quiz show's production team reportedly heard coughing in the audience and thought the number of coughs coincided with the number of the correct answer.

A police spokeswoman told BBC News Online that a special inquiry team was investigating an allegation of deception.

"The allegation was made on 14 September and no arrests have been made," she said.

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
Judith Keppel is a previous millionaire
His 37-year-old nursery nurse wife Diana, originally from Sully near Cardiff, has told papers that she and brother Adrian Pollock of Cowbridge, south Wales, had won 32,000 each on the show earlier in the year.

"Our family has had quite a bit of luck on the show," she said. "We all love it.

"We will continue to watch it every time it's on because we enjoy it so much."

Bombarded

Mrs Ingram's sister-in-law Hillary Pollock said: "I'm absolutely flabbergasted at this news. It has really upset me and stressed out the family."

And Mrs Ingram has even written a book, Win A Million!, which tells how her brother bombarded the phonelines with calls.

"Charles made blocks of 30 calls in an hour twice a day," she said.

"We practised fastest finger for months.

"Obviously there is still an element of chance and all you can do is minimise your reliance on luck."

A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman told BBC News Online: "It is a matter of investigation for Scotland Yard.

"He has not been suspended or been removed from his job".

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Major Charles Ingram
speaking at a press conference
The BBC's Robert Nisbet
"Mr Ingram was clearly very angry over the accusation"
See also:

20 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Questions on the path to 1m
21 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Millionaire moments
21 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Thaw and Wilson reincarnated
20 Nov 00 | Europe
Briton flush with 1m poker prize
03 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Millionaire contestant wins 500,000
13 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Wilson mellow after Meldrew
15 Jul 00 | Entertainment
Both feet in the grave
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