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How a lottery win tore a family apart

UK National LotteryUK National Lottery: How a lottery win tore a family apart

Some lottery winners can't resist shouting their good fortune from the rooftops with a champagne-spraying celebration. Others prefer to keep their new-found wealth secret, fearful of begging letters and never-ending jealousy from friends and extended family.

Clyde Baxter had no doubt which route he preferred in the wake of a staggering £6.75 million Lottery win seven years ago. While he felt obliged to tell his parents and two of his siblings, he refused to tell two other brothers, presumably for fear they, too, would want a slice of his winnings.

One thing is for sure: 35-year-old Mr. Baxter's attempts at secrecy have woefully failed to avert a family feud over the fortune, with greed, deceit and vitriol as its central ingredients. While the fallout has apparently already driven his parents apart, this week he found himself at the centre of a sensational case that has pitted him against his sister, Virginia, across an Australian courtroom.

The case hinges on a dispute over a £2 million house that Virginia, 37, bought on Australia's Gold Coast after she and Clyde emigrated there following the Lottery win.

She says the profit she has made since buying it belongs to her. Clyde - who is married with a baby son - says the money is his. So how did it come to this?

You might think that with nearly £7 million to go around, there would be plenty for everyone. But that would be to underestimate the corrosive power of greed, and the Lottery's uncanny ability to tear families apart:

The story of how a brother and sister came to fall out so spectacularly begins in 1999 when Clyde Baxter was running a butcher's shop in Leicester. He and his sister used to enjoy going to horse-races together, followed by evenings in the local pub.

If they had a good day on the horses they would buy a 'lucky dip' Lottery ticket, generally taking it in turns to buy, although there was no regular pattern. According to Clyde's testimony in court, the agreement between him and Virginia regarding the Lottery was simply that one of them would buy the ticket and if they got lucky they would share any winnings, just as they did at the races.

His sister Virginia is understood to have worked as a property developer in the Midlands, where she lived with her husband and four children. During the late Nineties, she and Clyde bought and sold at least two houses in the region, more than doubling their money on each.

While his other three brothers live in England, his parents, John and Monica, had emigrated to Australia in the Nineties. Back, then, to that fateful Saturday night in April 1999 when their numbers came up on a ticket Clyde happened to have bought. He immediately rang his sister with the news: "I've got six numbers!" Virginia hurried around to his home, looked at the ticket, then saw to her amazement that her brother had put his signature on the back, legally giving him a sole claim on the money.

"What's going on?" she asked, pointing to the writing. "It's our money."

Whatever words were exchanged that night, Clyde threw a celebration party with Virginia and their brother Kingsley. Virginia called their parents in Australia, telling them they would fly them over to England.

"Dad," said Clyde Baxter, "you'll never have to work again." It was certainly Clyde who collected all the winnings because his name was on the ticket, and when he met up with his father on his return to Britain, he gave him a cheque for £1million, tears running down his face with pride at being able to give his father such a gift.

Apparently disregarding the alleged verbal agreement he had with Virginia to split the winnings equally, he gave her £500,000, while his brother Kingsley received £75,000.

Why did Virginia accept an amount that was little more than one-seventh of the sum she should have received according to their verbal agreement? The reasons remain shrouded in mystery, though a comment made this week by Clyde Baxter sheds a little more light on this thorny issue.

He seemed to suggest his sister was expecting considerably less than half his winnings, claiming that Virginia told him: "Bearing in mind you should have given me a million...I need something to get me started."

Aside from the wrangling with his immediate family, Mr. Baxter remained determined not to reveal his secret to anyone else - not even to his closest friend, Shaun James, who eventually bought the butcher's business and still runs it today.

There were, however, not so subtle clues to his new-found wealth, such as the £89,000 Aston Martin car he bought, passing it off as the fruits of his business acumen.

During what Mr. Baxter describes as a "moderate spending spree", he also purchased a house and took his parents and sister to Las Vegas.

Mr. Baxter's former business partner Shaun James recalls: "Like most of us, Clyde always spoke of starting a new life somewhere. In 1999, he told me he had finally decided to go for it.

"He said he was emigrating to Australia, so I agreed to buy the butcher's from him. And that was it - in a matter of weeks he was gone. No one had an inkling about the Lottery win. We all just assumed he had cashed in his business and savings and gone to start his new life."

"Clyde came back for the occasional visit," recalls Mr. James, "and was his usual generous self, but nothing flash, nothing that would mark him out as a millionaire."

Determined that their good fortune would be a ticket to a life in the sun, Mr. Baxter and his sister - any dispute seemingly patched up - set about hunting along the Gold Coast, looking for a dream house. It was a home in Naples Street, Surfers Paradise, that caught their eye.

Even though Clyde wanted his name on the purchase documents, in the end it was bought in Virginia's name for £600,000.

Virginia had apparently told her brother he could not buy a property for renovation because he had only ever entered the country with a business visa and had not received (or might not have applied for) permanent residency.

He claims his sister told him the estate agent had advised he could only buy 'new property' in his name, but that Virginia could have the premises signed into her name because she had been granted an Australian permanent residency visa.

The house having been purchased, the siblings settled down to life in the sun. Virginia busied herself renovating the house to exacting standards, while Clyde left his life as a butcher far behind and enjoyed the trappings of a millionaire's lifestyle by buying a luxury house of his own in the area.

In 2003, he married his British wife Andrea, who is thought to be an heiress, during a visit back to the UK. That, then, might have been the end of the Baxter siblings' story, if they had not come to blows over the Gold Coast mansion in 2004.

This week, the squabbling over who is the rightful owner of the eight-bedroom, two-storey mansion spectacularly spilled over into the Supreme Court in Brisbane, where Mr. Baxter is suing his sister for the home, which she still occupies with her family.

She, in turn, claims he is lying over an arrangement they had in which, she says, he agreed to give her the property as long as she paid for any renovations.

The court heard that the dispute came to a head over four days in 2004 when, in a series of highly emotional confrontations at the house, there were bitter accusations of broken promises, pleadings, denials and, finally, a phone call by Mr. Baxter from another part of the Gold Coast to his sister shortly after he had spoken to his wife Andrea.

In that phone call, he admitted in court that he called Virginia 'shallow'. "I said that she was big and empty, like the house, and that she had no heart and that I wanted my fair share of the £2 million."

He claimed that Virginia told him: "You're not worried are you? I'm not going to rip you off." That, however, is just what he claims she did by refusing to give him a share of the house.

Around that time, the court heard Mr. Baxter called at the house where Virginia was then living with her husband Paul and their four children. The couple had carried out numerous renovations, but at that point, what Mr. Baxter described as 'full-blown' arguments ensued.

Mr. Baxter told his sister he wanted half the value of the premises - which he believed had by then risen to £2 million - signed over to him.

On one occasion, he even fell to his knees during his pleadings, but he claims Virginia's husband asked why Clyde should get anything when he and his wife had carried out all the renovations.

Virginia was sitting in the back of the court this week to hear her brother testify. Wearing a pale-green dress, blue high heels and with her dark hair piled high, she was impassive as Clyde Baxter, dressed in a dark brown suit and yellow patterned tie, struggled to find answers to probing questions her QC, David Jackson, fired at him.

"You always knew it was her house, didn't you, Mr. Baxter?" he asked. "If you had the intention to buy, renovate, then sell the property, why didn't you stop her doing it up to her personal taste?"

The Lottery winner said he told his sister that he was "stressed by having to sort things out" and she had replied: "Don't forget, you hit the big one. If things are that bad, hang yourself."

If the gloves have well and truly come off inside the courtroom, outside another unhappy family saga has been being played out as the mother of the warring siblings, Mrs. Monica Baxter, waits to hear her children's fate.

A grey-haired woman in her 60s, she insists she won't take sides with her son or daughter, but makes known her venom for Clyde's wife, Andrea. "She's wealthy in her own right, and she's pulling the strings in that relationship," she says bitterly.

"She's the one who's telling Clyde what to do and say and she's really lashed out against poor Virginia, apparently calling her a tart because she wears high heels. I won't take sides between my own children, though.

"What I do want is to see justice done here, but if at the end of the case I believe there hasn't been a fair decision, I'm getting out of this country where I came to live years ago and going straight back to Britain for good."

Monica Baxter's marriage has fallen apart in recent years, due, her son claims, to the bitter fight over the Gold Coast mansion. It seems those Lottery millions really were a curse on this most unhappy of families.

To add to his own misfortunes, questions have been raised about Mr. Baxter's honesty when filling in his immigration forms when he entered Australia.

He was accused yesterday of lying to the country's Immigration Department and was warned in court that he did not have to answer questions about the immigration documents he had filled in, on the grounds he might incriminate himself.

Today, the extraordinary case of the family that imploded continues. Whatever the outcome, it appears from the barbs that have already been thrown that there can be no going back to the days when a brother and sister enjoyed a simple day out at the races.

Daily Mail

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19 comments. Last comment 10 years ago by emilyg.
Page 1 of 2
bellyache's avatar - 64x64a9wg

United States
Member #12618
March 18, 2005
2060 Posts
Posted: August 4, 2006, 12:12 am - IP Logged

Wow, that is one long story.

Dance like no one is watching.

    New Member

    United States
    Member #43105
    July 13, 2006
    20 Posts
    Posted: August 4, 2006, 12:21 am - IP Logged

    see winning the lottery is not that great for some people

      jeffrey's avatar - moon
      Hamilton, OH
      United States
      Member #4162
      March 27, 2004
      277 Posts
      Posted: August 4, 2006, 1:24 am - IP Logged

      Just keep the money, your secrets and your silence. Anything else is a problem.

      Sulk Off

        justxploring's avatar - villiarna
        Wandering Aimlessly
        United States
        Member #25360
        November 5, 2005
        4461 Posts
        Posted: August 4, 2006, 1:30 am - IP Logged

        Wow, that is one long story.

        ..and I had a splitting headache before I started reading it!  BTW, where is this story from? A newspaper?

          emilyg's avatar - cat anm.gif

          United States
          Member #14
          November 9, 2001
          31541 Posts
          Posted: August 4, 2006, 1:58 am - IP Logged

          ..and I had a splitting headache before I started reading it!  BTW, where is this story from? A newspaper?

          source    Daily Mail

          love to nibble those micey feet.



            Kidzmom's avatar - cold
            United States
            Member #11741
            February 23, 2005
            1233 Posts
            Posted: August 4, 2006, 3:15 am - IP Logged

            God Almighty!!

              justxploring's avatar - villiarna
              Wandering Aimlessly
              United States
              Member #25360
              November 5, 2005
              4461 Posts
              Posted: August 4, 2006, 4:39 am - IP Logged

              source    Daily Mail

              Thanks. Don't know how I missed that.  Seem to be missing a lot these days. When I get outside I always make sure I remembered to put on my pants.

                United States
                Member #12322
                March 11, 2005
                36 Posts
                Posted: August 4, 2006, 7:14 am - IP Logged

                As I always say........a secret is only a secret if you keep it to yourself

                  dbello's avatar - scene sunoverlake.jpg
                  United States
                  Member #26915
                  November 24, 2005
                  6189 Posts
                  Posted: August 4, 2006, 7:28 am - IP Logged

                  "Even a fish wouln't get caught if he kept his mouth shut!"

                    mylollipop's avatar - Trek STLOGO6.png

                    United States
                    Member #24380
                    October 21, 2005
                    623 Posts
                    Posted: August 4, 2006, 11:39 am - IP Logged

                    EXACTLY!!!I Agree!

                      charlotte nc
                      United States
                      Member #3249
                      January 6, 2004
                      27 Posts
                      Posted: August 4, 2006, 1:24 pm - IP Logged

                      Talk about Greedy!-What a story!

                        weshar75's avatar - Lottery-042.jpg
                        Mcminnville, Oregon
                        United States
                        Member #3013
                        December 13, 2003
                        3092 Posts
                        Posted: August 4, 2006, 1:43 pm - IP Logged

                        It is amazing the amount of greed people can have over the fact that they have money and want more of it.  It is too bad that they lost the relationship between each other over the property.-weshar75

                          savagegoose's avatar - ProfilePho
                          adelaide sa
                          Member #37136
                          April 11, 2006
                          3316 Posts
                          Posted: August 4, 2006, 3:10 pm - IP Logged

                          seems to me that the sister got ripped off at the original time of the win. she should have fought that in court str8  away.  getting 600k for a house later it could be seen by her as recompense, with the half mill she initially got.


                          as they say a verbal contract is as good as the paper its written on. 

                            Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
                            Chief Bottle Washer
                            New Jersey
                            United States
                            Member #1
                            May 31, 2000
                            23352 Posts
                            Posted: August 4, 2006, 3:57 pm - IP Logged

                            The username "savagegoose" cracks me up!


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