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Thursday, 24 April, 2003, 16:42 GMT 17:42 UK
Millionaire: their story
Jon Sopel with Charles and Diana Ingram
Their reputation is in tatters but the Ingrams protest their innocence
In a HARDtalk interview on 24th April, quiz show cheats Major Charles Ingram and his wife, Diana, tell Jon Sopel that they are unlikely to appeal against their convictions for fraud

Major Charles Ingram, his wife and accomplice Tecwen Whittock were recently convicted of cheating on the well-known British television game show "Who Wants to be a Millionaire".

Major Ingram tells Jon Sopel that his conviction is "absolutely awful".

He is critical of ITV's 'Tonight' programme about the case, which he describes as "disgraceful".

None of us cheated, there was no planning to cheat, no attempt to cheat, no scam

Major Charles Ingram

Diana Ingram says: "It was absolutely disgusting. It didn't represent what happened with the studio... It would have been far fairer and more honourable to have shown what Charles would have really heard."

One sided

Major Ingram continues: "To call it an opportunity for the public to decide is disgraceful, it was wholly and utterly one-sided and far away from what actually happened."

Jon Sopel asks the Major how he feels to be convicted for fraud. Major Charles Ingram says:

"This feels absolutely awful. None of us cheated, there was no planning to cheat, no attempt to cheat, no scam. The verdict was perverse."

Jon Sopel asks the couple if they had - mentally - begun to make plans with the money:

"We certainly had started to make plans ...we decided to put the money in the bank and think about it."

Charles and Diana Ingram
The Ingrams want to clear their names, but an appeal is unlikely

The head of Celador, Paul Smith, rang Major Ingram a few days after the programme had been recorded to say that the cheque for one million pounds would be withheld until some "irregularities" had been investigated.

Major Ingram described the telephone call as a "thunderbolt".

He said: "Afterwards I was totally gutted, but at the time I didn't think much about it ... I certainly wasn't anticipating the call ...

I was in an open plan office and didn't want to have a conversation about something as cataclysmic as that. I know that nothing happened, remember, I didn't see it as a particular problem."

With great emotion, Major Ingram reiterates claims that he is an intelligent man: "I'm not thick, by the way, I'm a member of Mensa with an IQ of 149, in the top 2% of the population."

What price honesty?

Jon Sopel asks the couple if they believe that money can buy them happiness.

Major Ingram says firmly: "What is important to me is my wife and children. Money can go some way to supporting that, they are what is important to me."

He maintains that he is innocent and denies that greed was a motive: "The real victims are the three defendants and the tax payers."

Diana Ingram underlines that it is their reputations which lie in tatters: "We're keen to clear out names and reputations, it's under review but probably unlikely."

HARDtalk can be seen on BBC World at 0330gmt, 0830gmt, 1530gmt, 1830gmt and 2330gmt.

It can also be seen on BBC News 24 at 0430 and 2330



HARDtalk with Tim Sebastian is broadcast Mon - Friday on BBC World and BBC News 24
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