New analysis of the coughing at the heart of the Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? cheating scandal will cast doubt on the convictions of Charles and Diana Ingram, their lawyers have claimed.
The couple, along with co-conspirator Tecwen Whittock, were found guilty of using an elaborate scheme to cheat their way to the £1 million top prize during a high-profile trial in 2003.
The incident and ensuing court case, in which they denied a single charge of procuring the execution of a valuable security by deception, is the subject of the current ITV three-part drama Quiz, scripted by Brexit: An Uncivil War writer James Graham, and starring Matthew Macfadyen and Sian Clifford as the couple and Michael Sheen as show host Chris Tarrant.
As shown in the second episode of the TV show, the Ingrams’ joy at winning Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? was short-lived and suspicions were raised almost immediately.
They were both found guilty of conspiring to cheat the show and handed suspended jail terms.
Whittock, a college lecturer from Cardiff, was convicted of assisting the Ingrams and given a 12-month suspended sentence and ordered to pay a fine and costs.
However, lawyers for the Ingrams are working on the submission of legal arguments to the Court of Appeal before the end of the year.
Rhona Friedman, their criminal defence solicitor, argues that technological advances mean new analysis of the coughs that tipped off Ingram to the right answer will cast doubt on the safety of their convictions.
The Ingrams’ legal team claim it is now possible to identify other coughs made by Mr Whittock, as well as other coughers in the audience who could equally have been said to have been coughing at significant moments in the recording.
They also claim that recent investigation shows that the integrity of the audio evidence of coughing given to the jury at trial may have been compromised.
While the Ingrams avoided jail, they were publicly ridiculed and continue to be notorious for the crime.
Depsite this, they continued to appear on TV.
Charles starred on Channel 4’s The Games in 2004, alongside other celebrity guests such as model Linda Lusardi and Boyzone singer Shane Lynch.
In 2006, they appeared as a couple on a celebrity version of The Weakest Link, alongside the likes of racing pundit John McCririck and his long-suffering wife Jenny.
Memorably, the Ingrams also appeared on Celebrity Wife Swap, with Big Brother’s Jade Goody and her then-partner Jeff Brazier.
Despite their flirtations with celebrity, the Ingrams reportedly declared themselves bankrupt for a fourth time last year.
The couple now live in Bath and sell custom jewellery.