An unemployed Sheffield dad reported to police after being accused of faking a £200,000 Lottery scratchcard win has admitted he has served time in prison – and says the stress of being labelled a cheat could cause him to have a heart attack.
Eric Walker, 56, maintains he is innocent and is locked in a bitter feud with lottery organisers Camelot who have refused to pay out his jackpot amid accusations that the £3 Pharaoh’s Fortune card was doctored.
Police were called in after a letter F on the card was altered to look like an E – but Mr Walker, of Arbourthorne, blames a printing error and is determined not to let the matter drop and clear his name.
He has admitted he was jailed 33 years ago and says the stress of proving his innocence could lead him to have a heart attack.
He said: "Just because I've been to jail doesn't make me a bad person. I'm a reformed character.
"Prison has made me a better person so why should I be denied the chance of a better future which money can help buy? We won that scratchcard prize fair and square.
"I never wanted to go back so I've kept out of trouble. I've been a hard grafter and kept on the straight and narrow for the sake of my kids."
He says himself and his family have been shouted at and abused in the street and added: "I have nothing to hide because I haven't done anything wrong, I know the card hasn't been tampered with.
"The police can show me how the card has been altered because I can't see it. They can do what they want.
"If it has been altered then I have no explanation for it because I bought the card and haven't done anything to it.
"I don't have the skills to fake a scratchcard, you'd have to be some sort of expert to pull that off."
Unemployed Eric, who buys six scratchcards a day, believes there was a misprint on the scratchcard after he matched three symbols.
He has invited cops to his home to have a look at the ticket and says he is the one being "cheated".
He added: "It seems like I'm being made out to be a con man or a cheat which I'm not, I'm not a bad person.
"It's very stressful for me to be accused of something I haven't done. I'm not going to admit to something I haven't done, that's stupid.
The game offers five top prizes of £200,000 by giving sixteen co-ordinates which are used to scratch off squares on a grid in the hope of matching three pharaoh symbols.
He insists he uncovered three pharaoh symbols on squares D1, E5 and A5 after purchasing the ticket from a corner shop near his house three weeks ago.
But Camelot has launched an investigation and said the card was altered.
He added: "That scratchcard has not been doctored. I'm not that bright to be honest with you.”
Mr Walker insisted: "I can assure you nobody has altered it and nobody has tampered with it.
"That cards been put away and is still put away. I won't even let my girlfriend touch it, I know it's her card and everything."
When asked why the scratchcard appears different in two pictures, one taken by Eric and the other by a photographer, he told The Mirror: "I understand what you're saying..it does look different.
"But nobody has done anything to that card."
Asked about why so many squares had been scratched off, he said: "There are two more now that have been scratched off. When Camelot says it wasn't E5, it was F5, we scratched F5 off."
And when asked why the random E2 had been scratched off he said: "I don't know why. I will have to go back and have a look at the card."
He said: "How can Camelot investigate when they haven't seen the card themselves?
"They can come here to look at it because I'm not posting it or letting it out of my sight."
"I haven't doctored it, I'm not trying to cheat. I'm no angel but I wouldn't cheat.”
A Camelot spokesman said they were contacted through their general enquiries email address and it was not escalated to their prize claims team as "there was no claim to be dealt with".
They said: "We were able to re-construct the Scratchcard in our system.
"We can confirm that an 'F' has been altered to appear as an 'E', and is therefore not a winning Scratchcard."
"The scratchcard has not been recalled and we will be reporting this matter to the police."