Charles Ingram has been accused of cheating on the UK version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” with the help of fellow contestant Tecwen Whittock, who allegedly coughed to alert him to the correct answers.
During a recording of the game show in 2001, Ingram correctly answered 15 questions to win the ultimate jackpot, despite a shaky start. However, according to The sun, the prize money was withdrawn after the show’s executives questioned the validity of Ingram’s victory.
After reviewing the recording, the production team alleged that contestant Tecwen Whittock alerted Ingram to the right and wrong answers by coughing and sneezing aside. They also reportedly found an example of Diana Ingram coughing in the audience.
All three were ultimately charged with “proclaiming the execution of a guarantee of value by deception”. The Ingrams were given an 18-month suspended sentence for two years (i.e. if they did not meet the conditions set by the court, they would serve a prison sentence) and Whittock was given a 12-month sentence with stay for two years. Both sides were also fined £ 15,000 ($ 20,000) and £ 10,000 ($ 13,800) for prosecution costs, although the Ingrams ended up in respect of £ 115,000 ($ 159,000) in additional defense costs.
Major of the Royal Engineers, Charles Ingram was forced to resign from the army in August 2003 following the trial.
However, the accused cheaters and their defense attorneys have maintained the innocence of both parties over the years, even prove that Whittock suffered from a persistent cough it had nothing to do with alerting Ingram to the correct answers.