A factory worker who scooped the equivalent of $131 million on the lottery is not obliged to continue “bailing out his profligate son”, a judge has ruled.
David Dawes, of Wisbech, England, won the Euromillions jackpot with his wife Angela in 2011 (both pictured).
He quit his job but the dream turned sour when his son, Michael, took him to court for refusing to carry on sharing the winnings.
Michael, 32, who saw action in Afghanistan as a naval officer, received from his father and stepmother the equivalent of just over $2 million after the giant win, but by 2013 “most of it had been spent,” Judge Nigel Gerald said at Central London county court yesterday.
Michael, who also quit a lucrative job in IT after his father’s windfall, claimed his father and stepmother told him he “would always be looked after” and said he and his boyfriend, James Beedle, 34, had made life decisions assuming that they would always be looked after.
But the judge threw out Michael’s claim for continuous funding, ruling: “There was no basis on which any rational or normal human being could conclude that they could go back for more money whenever they wanted.”
Michael spent more than $700,000 buying a house in Portsmouth, southern England; and a further $325,000 was given to his boyfriend’s family and friends.
He and his partner were spending the equivalent of between $25,000 and $40,000 a month, including a $1,300 weekly grocery bill, the court was told.
When Michael went to his father in April 2012 and admitted to being low on funds, his father agreed to top up his bank balance.
The judge said: “Michael took this as a demonstration that his father would cough up whenever asked, and this therefore buttressed his strange conclusion that his dad would financially support him for the rest of his life.”
But by March 2013, Mr Dawes and his wife decided enough was enough. They cleared some of the couple’s debts and then said they would no longer help out financially.
The “sad denouement to this sorry tale” came at Mrs Dawes’s birthday party the following November, said the judge, when father and son clashed after drinking.
“Michael behaved extremely badly, demanding £5 million from his father, and also verbally abusing and bad mouthing Angie.”
Michael was “pushed out of the house” and father and son have been estranged ever since.