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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 March 2008, 15:26 GMT

Lotto mystery may never be solved

By Jemima Laing
BBC News, Devon

Euromillions logo
The numbers were 22, 30, 34, 35, 44, the Lucky Star numbers were 4 and 5
When it emerged the winner of almost 7m of Euromillions cash was running out of time to claim the only clue was the winning ticket was bought in Devon.

But that sole hint - that it had been bought at one of the 650-odd lottery retailers in England's third largest county - failed to flush the winner out and the deadline passed.

Camelot has strict rules governing what can be revealed about a winning ticket before a prize is claimed.

What is divulged after that, such as where the winning ticket was purchased, is dependent on whether the winner agrees to make their new-found wealth public.

The multimillion-pound Devon ticket was one of six in the UK entitled to claim a 6.9m share of the EuroMillions jackpot on 28 September last year, when the numbers 22, 30, 34, 35, 44, with Lucky Star numbers 4 and 5, came up.

Backs of sofas

Those who claimed the cash included Neville Fisher, a retired oilfield construction worker from Chesterfield; the six-strong, caravan-loving Prance family syndicate from Cardiff, who pocketed just over 1.1m each; and the 32 syndicate members from Southampton trucking company, Adams Morey, who each took home over 218,000.

But despite people from Ilfracombe to Ivybridge desperately looking down the backs of their sofas and searching their pockets and handbags the mystery Devon winner never came forward.

And by the time the claim deadline passed at 1730 GMT on Wednesday the unclaimed amount had already earned close to 200,000 in interest.

But it has not been revealed exactly where the ticket was bought.

Thea and Paul Bristow
Thea and Paul Bristow did claim their cash- 15m in 2004

"If a major prize has not been claimed within 25 days of the draw, we are required to identify the area where the ticket was bought to encourage players to check their tickets and hopefully come forward to claim their prize," said a Camelot spokesperson.

Camelot has an established formula which it uses to determine how much information is given out at that point.

But even after the final 180-day deadline has passed, and the money has gone to Good Causes, no further clues are disclosed.

Camelot says this is because it "would not be in the best interests of the relevant National Lottery player or retailers to encourage media speculation when the prize can no longer be claimed or paid".

The largest prize ever to go to Good Causes was 9,476,995, from the Doncaster area, which was a Lotto jackpot from the draw on 6 July, 2005.

Good track record

But Camelot says lottery players in Devon have a good track record of remembering to check their numbers and claim.

"Only one other prior to this recent prize has gone unclaimed and this was a Lotto 5 plus the Bonus Ball prize from the draw on November 5, 2005 worth 118,149," the spokesperson said.

"There was also an East Devon (including Honiton, Sidmouth and Seaton) Lotto 5 plus the Bonus Ball prize from the draw on August 12, 2006 worth 117,797 which was claimed on September 18, 2006.

"The ticket holder chose not to take publicity."

Some of those in the county who have come forward to claim their prize include major winners like Thea and Paul Bristow who won 15m in July 2004, and an 18-strong University of Plymouth Faculty of Science syndicate who shared 8.8m last November.

The most recent local winner was Peter Heal, 37, from Newton Abbot who won nearly 3m earlier this month.

But in the case of the Devon Euromillions ticket the chance to become as wealthy as the likes of football players Robbie Keane, Phil Neville and Jonathan Woodgate has now passed and the prize money will be added to the Good Causes fund.



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