If you haven’t heard the story of Howard Walmsley before, then you are in for a treat. Known as the lottery liar, Howard was a man whose life story shows us how one simple little lie can spiral out of control and lead to all types of trouble. Below we will look at his life and how his one not-so-little lie ended up changing his life forever.
Who Is Howard Walmsley and What Was His Lie?
Howard worked as a painter and designer in the town of Doncaster and was married to his wife of five years, Kathy. He worked hard to provide for his wife and daughter and was your average Englishman up until the end of 1998. At this point, Howard told a small white lie to his wife that shook things up for the rest of their lives together. He decided to tell his wife that he had won the National Lottery. In fact, he claimed that he had won the October 17, 1998, jackpot of £8,904,558!
Life Before the Lie
Howard was battling to pay his bills from his income as a painter and was often confronted with debt collectors who came to his house to claim the money that he owed them. Because of this, his marriage was on shaky ground and was at a point where Kathy was ready to throw in the towel. Howard battled to come to terms with this and was looking for any way to ensure that he could keep the love of his life. As such, his story is almost the direct opposite of Denise Rossi, who kept her lottery win from her husband and quickly divorced him!
How Did the Lie Occur?
The lie all started when Howard was out with Kathy, and she saw a pair of £8 shoes that she fell head over heels for. Knowing that they could not afford the shoes, Kathy put them back on the store shelf and was ready to go on her way. Howard, however, saw an opportunity to not only make her happy but to try and mend their relationship.
So, like all sane people, he told his wife that he had won the National Lottery and that she could buy the shoes and ‘treat herself.’ Kathy instantly believed her husband; after all, she had no reason to suspect he would lie about something as big as winning the lottery. After all, who would do such a thing?!
How Did the Lie Escalate?
After initially telling Kathy the small white lie, Howard began telling others, and it soon became common knowledge that he had struck it big. In order to keep up appearances, Howard purchased three brand-new Jaguar sports cars, started the process of buying and renovating a farmhouse that would end up costing over £500,000, and took Kathy on holidays to get away and relax.
What nobody knew was that all this was being funded by money that Howard had borrowed from banks that he had conned into believing that he had indeed won the lottery and that he was just waiting for the payout to come through.
In the meantime, Howard regularly played the lottery, hoping that he would win some money so that his lie would become a reality. He also managed to con a supposed mistress out of almost £40,000. This money was supposedly to start a new life with her. However, once she had borrowed this money from a bank and passed it along to Howard, he no longer wanted to start a new life with her and instead used the money to keep the lie he had told Kathy going.
What Happened Next?
As with any lie, Howard’s whopper of a tale eventually caught up to him when his wife noticed that their bills were still piling up. She ultimately confronted Howard, but he managed to convince her that he was still a winner by depositing a fake cheque into his account-knowing full well that the cheque would bounce. This charade carried on until the day they were meant to move into their dream home. That morning, the police arrived looking to arrest him. The fraud that their investigation had uncovered when they were looking at the accounts of his previously failed business led them straight to his door.
After a full day of interrogations at the police station, Howard finally told the truth: he had not actually won the lottery. He was subsequently sentenced to three years in prison for fraud and multiple counts of deception.
Where Is Howard Now?
Amazingly, Kathy took Howard back after he was released from his three-year prison sentence. However, in 2019, Howard popped up in the news again under the name of John Eric Wells. This time, just as last time, it was not just for telling a lie but because the police were once again looking for him. And it seems he had been quite busy-conning three women out of almost £400,000!
Where Howard is now and whether or not Kathy is still with him-which was the whole point of the lie, to begin with-is currently unclear. However, if the police are looking for him, we are sure that he is keeping a very low profile and is not running around claiming that he has won the lottery. No matter how you look at it, Howard's story is one that, like Bill Morgan's, is truly stranger than fiction.