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Last Updated: Friday, 28 March, 2003, 15:27 GMT
Quiz major 'honest and decent'
Charles and Diana Ingram
Mr Ingram and his wife Diana: "Hard-working and law-abiding"
An army major accused of cheating on TV quiz show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? has been described in court as a "hardworking, law-abiding" citizen.

Royal Engineers officer Charles Ingram was a "committed soldier" who had lived a "honest and decent, hard working life," his barrister Sonia Woodley QC told Southwark Crown Court in London.

Mr Ingram and his wife Diana, both 39, of Easterton, Wiltshire, are accused with college lecturer Tecwen Whittock, of Whitchurch, Cardiff of "procuring the execution of a valuable security by deception" - the show's 1m top prize - on 10 September, 2001.

The Crown claims Mr Whittock used 19 coughs to let Mr Ingram know the answers to questions in the quiz, hosted by Chris Tarrant and made by Celador.

In her closing speech, Ms Woodley asked the jury to consider "the nature of the man" and the life he had left.

He was a "hard-working, law-abiding citizen who worked for everything he has got," she said.

To cheat Celador out of 1m is a serious matter, but there is something more serious, to be labelled a cheat when you are no such thing
Sonia Woodley QC
She added the "theories" put forward by the prosecution during the case were "tenuous and unsafe".

"At most it amounts to suspicion," she said.

'Integrity'

She painted a picture of a family man who was devoted to his daughters and wife, with a "reputation for integrity, honest, intelligent, able, knowledgeable".

Ms Woodley also dealt with whether or not Mr Ingram would have noticed Mr Whittock's coughing, which he says was caused by a dust allergy.

She said Mr Ingram was shown to be concentrating on a studio monitor listing possible answers and on Mr Tarrant.

It has taken a war to relegate this case from the front pages
Adrian Whittock QC
Ms Woodley reminded the jury that Mr Tarrant had said he was not aware of any coughing, adding that taking into account the presenter's experience of fronting the show, he should have known if there was any cheating going on.

She added: "To cheat Celador out of 1m is a serious matter, but if you stop for a moment there is something more serious and that is to be labelled a cheat when you are no such thing."

Trial was 'pure joy'

Mrs Ingram's QC, Adrian Redgrave, said the trial had been a source of "pure joy" for some - including "the press, ITV, Celador - brilliant for publicity".

He added: "It has taken a war to relegate this case from the front pages."

He said evidence showing Mrs Ingram had spoken to Mr Whittock on the phone in the days before her husband's appearance was just "two anoraks talking to each other".

Tecwen Whittock
Tecwen Whittock: Coughing
The trial had heard that Mrs Ingram was writing a book about quiz shows, and the two had a shared interest in the topic.

"She had spoken on the phone to Tecwen Whittock," he said.

"What are you supposed to do? Make some gigantic leap from that fact that she had spoken to him to say 'there we are - proved'."

Mr Redgrave said the prosecution had "poo-pooed" suggestions that coincidence would have been involved in the coughing seeming to indicate the right answers.

But he said Mr Ingram had told police he had been married in the same church as the show's second millionaire winner - a "brilliant example" of coincidence.

The case was adjourned until Monday.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Nazanine Moshiri
"Tecwen Whittock's QC said he wasn't a risk taker"



SEE ALSO:
Millionaire: A TV phenomenon
03 Mar 03  |  Entertainment


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