Jobless dad-of-eight who won £3.75 million on gambling site still claims £3,000 a month of benefits

16 December 2019, 16:51

The couple have bought a new home with the winnings
The couple have bought a new home with the winnings. Picture: SWNS

The family - who won the jackpot in October - are still taking government handouts.

An unemployed dad-of-eight is still claiming £3,000 a month in benefits, despite winning £3.75 million on a gambling website last year.

Thomas Roche, 30, spent £58 on Bet365's Reel King Slot during his first go on the site, and hit the jackpot on 10 October this year.

Read more: You can now 'trap' your Elf on the Shelf in the TV

He and his wife Shelley declared the tax-free cast to HMRC, assuming that it would stop their £3,000-a-month benefits.

Thomas and Shelley are still claiming benefits, despite their win
Thomas and Shelley are still claiming benefits, despite their win. Picture: SWNS

However, they have claimed that - while their housing an income support has stopped - they can still get child benefit, child tax credits and disability living allowance for some of their kids.

The family have spend some of the money on a six-bedroom house in Dover, Kent, and are planning to leave their Eltham council house next week.

Read more: Parents urged to vaccinate 'super-spreader' kids as flu cases rise by 25 per cent in a week

He said: “I spent £60 online on Bet365 and won just under four million. 

“We were new to the slots. It was about 1:30am in the morning we got on there, obviously we had kids to sort and stuff. Next minute you know, we’ve become millionaires.

“I think we woke the whole neighbourhood. It was unreal - you don’t expect to win that, just under four million quid.

“It means a lot, yeah. I’ve got eight kids, we still get to keep our benefits - other than income support.

“I’ve barred myself from going back on Bet365 already - I’d rather go and spend my money.

“I called my bank to check whether the money had gone in, and while I was talking to them the money started flowing in. 

“In the space of five minutes while I was in the bank, all the money was there.

The couple have spent some of the money on a new home in Kent
The couple have spent some of the money on a new home in Kent. Picture: SWNS

“We’ve never had a new car - we’ve always had a Beetle. I only do the school run with it, shopping and take it once a year to a VW festival.

“But since winning, I’ve gone out and bought a van and cars for me and my brother, one for my sister. I’ve bought five cars.

“I bought a house, bought myself a Raptor - a road legal quad bike. I’ve got nowhere to store it, so that’s in the back of the van!

“We’re going to de-clutter this house and give it back to the council. Then I’m going to invest money into buying houses and renting them back to the council, and then just look for any investments to bring money in.

“It came in as a bonus. At first it said we were only going to get £16, and then I went to the toilet and came back and it was rolling in slowly as the jackpot - it said ‘Jackpot King’.

“We had never won anything on it before. It happened in October, and within two weeks we’d bought our house. We’re going to sign paperwork for it tomorrow."

Shelley added: Shelley, who grew up in Woolwich, said: “It’s tax-free money. We rang HMRC, we rang all the benefit offices. The only thing which did stop is income support.

“Obviously it’s child benefit and child tax credit, so it’s for the kids. So we told them the percentage we get from the bank, and we still get that. 

Read more: Tamara Ecclestone ‘shaken’ as thieves steal '£50 million of jewellery' from family mansion in shock raid

“I tried to stop it, but they said it’s for your children. They said you don’t have to stop child tax credit because it’s for the children.

“It’s not an income for me and Dad - income support is for me and him. Child tax credit and benefit is for the children.  

“My housing benefit has stopped. We’re doing everything right and above board."