Charles And Diana Ingram's Original Defence Lawyer Maintains Guilty Verdict Was A 'Miscarriage Of Justice'

The Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? "coughing scandal" is currently being explored in the hit ITV drama Quiz.

Charles and Diana Ingram’s defence lawyer has insisted she still thinks the couple’s guilty verdict was a “miscarriage of justice”.

Back in 2001, the two were found guilty of “procuring the execution of a valuable security by deception”, having been accused of cheating their way to the top prize on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? using a scheme involving coughing.

The events are currently being detailed in a three-part ITV drama, Quiz, the final instalment of which will cast doubt on the Ingrams’ guilt.

During Wednesday’s edition of This Morning, their defence lawyer Rhona Friedman revealed that she still believes the couple were innocent.

Charles and Diana Ingram with Chris Tarrant
Charles and Diana Ingram with Chris Tarrant

Revealing that she was seeking an appeal almost 20 years on from the verdict, she told presenters Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford: “The delay has been caused by changes in science, advances in science that weren’t available at the trial and it’s not unusual in complicated cases like this for appeals to take place some time after the original conviction. This is a long one, I have to say, but science can move in some areas quite slowly.

“Where we have got to now is the ability to properly discern the many coughs… There was actually a lot of coughing, although Charles and Chris Tarrant didn’t hear it during the recording.”

She continued: “There were about just under 200 coughs during the recording… Not all from Tecwen [Whittock, a fellow contestant who was found guilty alongside the Ingrams], from other people in the audience.

“And what we think we have managed to get to, and it’s a work in progress, for the first time is identify where Tecwen is coughing. Both coughs that the prosecution would say would be significant, and other completely innocent coughs, which properly contextualise how often this poor guy was coughing. He had, which I think was accepted at the trial, three different respiratory conditions. He was a habitual cougher.”

Rhona spoke to This Morning via video-link
Rhona spoke to This Morning via video-link

Rhona concluded: “I think to do appeals like this, which are incredibly time consuming, can take up many years of your life, if you don’t actually have a belief that the people you’re representing have been wrongly treated, there’s been a miscarriage of justice, it’s very difficult to carry on.

“And I can say to you with complete conviction I think there was a miscarriage of justice in this case.”

The Ingrams – who have always maintained their innocence – received a suspended prison sentence of 18 months after being found guilty, as well as more than £100,000 in costs between them.

After their conviction, they went on to appear on shows like Celebrity Wife Swap and The Weakest Link, later telling the Guardian that he only suffered the publicity “through gritted teeth” because he needed the money. “I have only my notoriety to market - what can I do?” he said.

The Ingrams as depicted in Quiz
The Ingrams as depicted in Quiz
Matt Frost/ITV

“It does seem to some people kind of an odd choice to get involved more with the medium that has in a sense kind of ruined you, but I think at that point they kind of thought, ‘In for a penny, in for a pound’,” Rhona told Eamonn and Ruth.

“And they were in a lot of financial difficulties. And I think for many years now they have been living lives of a quiet obscurity, just getting on with things.”

The final part of Quiz airs on Wednesday night at 9pm on ITV, with Succession star Matthew MacFadyen and Fleabag’s Sian Clifford as Charles and Diana Ingram.

This Morning airs every weekday from 10am.


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