Margaret Macdonald Lottery Winner Who Snatched 86k From Dead Mums Bank Account Must Pay It All Back
Margaret MacDonald: Lottery winner who snatched £86K from dead mum’s bank account must pay it all back
A Lottery winner who snatched £86,000 from her dead mum’s bank account has been ordered to pay the full amount back to her family.
After returning £56,000 Margaret MacDonald, 57, has been ordered to pay back the remaining £30,000 after being sued by three of her sisters.
They insisted her claim that she was acting on her mother’s orders by taking the cash was lies.
A sheriff has now ordered MacDonald to return the full amount to her family, reports the Daily Record.
MacDonald – whose husband Iain scooped a £500,000 share of a multi-million-pound lottery syndicate win in September 2009 – has been locked in a bitter legal wrangle with her sisters since their mum, Margaret Doonin, died of cancer five years ago.
Heartbreak: Margaret Doonin died of cancer five years ago
She returned more than £56,000 but claimed she had been entitled to move £30,000 on the instruction of Margaret – despite being estranged from her mum and removed from her will.
A sheriff has now dismissed her version of events and ordered MacDonald, of Blantyre, Lanarkshire, to return every penny of the outstanding cash – plus thousands of pounds in interest accrued while the long-running feud rumbled through the courts.
A defiant MacDonald said “bitter rifts” had torn her once close-knit family apart and blamed her siblings for “disputing the wishes” of her dead mum.
Margaret died aged 85 just a few months after the MacDonalds’ lotto windfall, leaving behind eight children.
The pensioner’s late husband Frank had been a well-known local businessman and had owned the Doon Inn pub in Blantyre, a recycling company and a property firm before his death in 2008.
Just before Margaret’s death, she made payments of £10,000 to five of her kids but left out three, including MacDonald, who she had not spoken to for several months.
After her death, MacDonald claimed her mother had told her to split £30,000 evenly between her and the other siblings who had been left out, brother Francis and sister Catherine.
She removed £86,391.36 from the OAP’s Royal Bank of Scotland account in February 2010, promising to return the cash after she had been refunded for items she bought on behalf of her mum.
She later returned more than £56,000 but kept the almost £30,000 – sparking the legal action. MacDonald – a customer service adviser for HM Revenue and Customs – was sued by sisters Frances Hutcheson, 47, Patricia Cavanagh, 54, both of Blantyre, and Elizabeth Doonin, 63, who has emigrated to Canada.
Frances previously told a hearing her mum had “died of a broken heart”.
She said: “It is total and utter lies that Margaret McDonald received instruction from my mother to get the money for all her children.
“Margaret had lost her power of attorney and had been excluded from my mother’s will.
Feud: MacDonald said “bitter rifts” had torn her once close-knit family apart
“I had a very close relationship with my mother. She was strong-willed and strong-minded.
"She was good with finances, she knew everything that was going on with her accounts right up until her death.
“Margaret saw mum on her deathbed and she held her hand, I missed her final moments. My mother died of a broken heart.”
MacDonald admitted growing apart from her mother but said she had seen her on two or three occasions in the seven months before her death and was told to pay the three remaining “gifts” during a visit to her home.
She told the court she moved the £86,000 because she was concerned about the money being “lost”.
However, Hamilton sheriff Alasdair MacFadyen, who heard the case, said MacDonald was neither credible nor reliable as a witness and described her evidence as “vague”.
He added: “In particular, I do not believe that in December 2009, or at any other time, her mother instructed her to make a gift of £10,000 to each of her, Catherine Houldsworth and Francis Doonin junior.”
Sheriff MacFadyen said MacDonald would also have to pay interest on the £30,000 dating back to January 2011 – which stands at around £6500.
MacDonald remains adamant she has done nothing wrong and said she may appeal the court’s decision.
She added: “This has been a long and bitter dispute between a once close-knit family of eight brothers and sisters.
“Unfortunately, since the death of my parents, bitter rifts have developed between us and the family have been divided.
"Of course I am very disappointed at the outcome of this long and protracted hearing and I am considering appealing the decision.
“I am saddened that the wishes of my deceased mother have been disputed by some of my own brothers and sisters and further saddened that this matter has been brought to court.
“Carrying out her request to distribute money from the joint account, held by my mother and myself, gave rise to this action but we only saw it as carrying out her wishes.”
Iain MacDonald was one of nine men who shared a £4.5million lottery win in September 2009.
The syndicate were based in her father’s pub The Doon Inn, which she later took over.