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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 October, 2003, 15:19 GMT
The man behind the scams
Major Ingram's reputation was left in tatters

The conviction of Charles Ingram on charges of insurance fraud brings to an end two years in the media spotlight for the ex-army major.

The 40-year-old, from Easterton, Wiltshire, had denied two charges of deception by failing to declare insurance claims made in the preceding three years.

Mr Ingram also denied five charges of deception by making claims totalling 32,000 against two insurance policies.

But, for the second time, a jury failed to accept his version and on Tuesday at Bournemouth Crown Court he was convicted.

Quiz scam

Earlier this year, Ingram and his wife, Diana, were each fined 15,000, ordered to pay 10,000 costs, and received 18-month prison sentences, suspended for two years, for their part in the Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? quiz show scam.

Together with accomplice, college lecturer Tecwen Whittock, the pair had denied cheating their way to a 1m win on 10 September, 2001.

They had used a series of coughed messages to ensure contestant Ingram's success in the show.

During his current trial an emotional Ingram - who claimed after the Millionaire trial that he had considered suicide - broke down as he revealed some of the pressures that accompanied their notoriety.

'Absolutely devastated'

He fought back tears as he spoke of the "cataclysmic" effect of having the winner's cheque cancelled, and revealed the family's pet dog and cat had been attacked as a result of the publicity.

During the Bournemouth trial, he said: "I was absolutely devastated. It was cataclysmic not only for me, but for my family."

The father-of-three first became involved with the army as a student, as an officer cadet in the London University Training Corps.

He left university with a civil engineering degree and in 1986 he earned a place at Sandhurst army training academy.

He became engaged to Diana while he was on a tour of duty in Germany, and they married in November 1989.

The following year daughter Portia was born. Rosie and Hester completed their family.

Tecwen Whittock
Tecwen Whittock was drafted into the sting
In 1995, following a variety of postings and steady promotion through the ranks of the Royal Engineers, he became a major at the age of 32.

In February 2000 he was sent to Bosnia for six months as part of the UN's peacekeeping operations.

His former commanding officer, Colonel Michael Carter, praised his former number two and said it was with "considerable surprise" he learned of the quiz show allegations.

Before that trial, he said: "He is a highly professional officer - energetic, hard-working and determined."

Fall from grace

Ingram's father John, a former RAF wing commander, gave more of a hint as to why such a highly-respected officer would risk his reputation with a criminal bid to swindle 1m.

He said Ingram "staggered" him by setting out to win the prize.

But Ingram was to cross the line between determination and obsession - with disastrous results.

Now that he has been convicted of insurance fraud, the fall from grace would seem complete.




SEE ALSO:
'Millionaire' major guilty of fraud
28 Oct 03  |  Wiltshire
The man behind the scams
28 Oct 03  |  Wiltshire


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