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£35m lotto loser has complaint against regional daily thrown out

A woman whose lottery mishap cost her £35m has had her claim that a regional daily passed on her details to a news agency rejected.

Edwina Nylan contacted Blackpool daily The Gazette after she and husband David missed out on a £35m lottery win, claiming their online ticket purchase had failed to go through.

But after speaking to a journalist on Christmas Eve last year and agreeing to a photograph, Mrs Nylan said she changed her mind shortly before the picture was due to be taken four days later.

She claimed The Gazette then passed on her details to a local press agency, which prompted her to complain to the Independent Press Standards Organisation.

David, left, and Edwina Nylan

David, left, and Edwina Nylan

But the watchdog has dismissed her case, saying there was no evidence the newspaper had provided Mrs Nylan’s number to the agency.

She complained under Clause 2 (Privacy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice, saying she had been persuaded to go ahead with the photograph after calling the journalist she had changed her mind despite her initial approach to The Gazette.

The complainant claimed she later said she did not want the story published until Camelot had completed their investigation into her complaint, a request which was ignored.

She further accused The Gazette of passing her ex-directory landline number to the agency, after a journalist and photographer told her they had been alerted to the story by the paper.

The Gazette denied that there was an agreement in place not to publish the story until Camelot had investigated the complainant’s case, saying its journalist told her it would not be able to run the story until it was able to get a response from Camelot.

After speaking to Mrs Nylan about the response, the complainant said she was happy for the story to be run and later emailed the newspaper a screenshot of the numbers she and her husband had chosen.

The Gazette further denied supplying her number, supported by a statement from the agency’s journalist, which said that it had contacted the complainant’s son on his mobile phone when he was at his mother’s house, and her son had passed his phone to her.

IPSO was unable to determine whether there had been an agreement not to publish the story until Camelot had investigated the complaint, although it did note the extensive contact that had taken place between the complainant and the newspaper in advance of publication.

However, even if such an agreement had been in place, the Committee did not consider that the information published in the article revealed any inherently private information about the complainant such that consent was required.

The complaint was not upheld, and the full adjudication can be read here.