Bingo mum tells friends 'to get stuffed' after court lets her keep £100,000 winnings


Last updated at 23:41 25 October 2007

Tania Burnett

When Tania Burnett won £100,000 in a bingo game, she didn't realise it would mean losing her two best friends.

But she is no longer on speaking terms with Stacey Wilson and Abigail Stacey after they demanded she split the jackpot three ways - and took her to court when she refused.

The two women claimed the group had agreed to split any significant winnings equally. But Miss Burnett's lawyer argued that although they had 'discussed' sharing any winnings, there was no formal agreement.

And after a protracted legal battle - paid for by the taxpayer - a judge in the Court of Appeal ruled that any verbal promise she might have made was not legally binding.

Miss Burnett is therefore entitled to keep the whole £101,211 prize - which is just as well, as she said yesterday that she has already spent it and the other two 'could get stuffed'.

The 25-year-old mother-of-two insisted: 'We never agreed to share any winnings and they put me through three years of hell.

'The day before bingo, Stacey asked me if we wanted to share any money we won and I said No. I've played lots of bingo and I never share because it causes problems like this.

They only kicked up a fuss because I won so much. If I had just won a tenner they wouldn't have asked for a share of that.'

She added: 'All the money's gone anyway. I've spent the lot on my kids and my house.

'If I'm honest, I wish I hadn't won it at all. It's been far too much hassle.'

The three women each paid £7 for a night at the Gala Bingo Club in Plymouth in January 2005.

Abigail Stacey and Stacey Wilson

Miss Burnett's winning streak began when she scooped a £153 prize.

She then paid an extra £2.40 to enter the national game, which links hundreds of Gala Bingo houses around the country.

Minutes later, she was the first to cry 'House' - and scooped the jackpot.

But it wasn't long before things got frosty.

'Stacey immediately had a face like thunder,' Miss Burnett, from Plymouth, said yesterday.

'She said to me "We agreed to share, don't you remember?" I told her we hadn't agreed anything of the sort.'

Over a meal in an Indian restaurant, the cracks in their friendship widened.

Miss Burnett said she gave the other two women £40 to pay for their share of the bill, but that the atmosphere was 'horrible'.

She said: 'We'd agreed to go out for dinner before hand, so we went for a curry.

'Abigail was OK, but Stacey's face was like a smacked bum.'

The following day Miss Burnett decided not go back to her job at the postal depot in Plymouth where all three women had worked. They have not seen each other since.

She added: 'For three years I've been back and forth to court. It's been a nightmare, but I don't feel guilty because we never agreed anything.'

But Miss Wilson, 24, yesterday begged to differ from her former friend's version of events.

'Tania never shares and she's being rubbish,' she said.

'She thought of herself first and she's got to live with that. I'm glad she's been put through three years of hell.'

The mother-of-one added: 'If the shoe was on the other foot there wouldn't even have been a court case because we would have paid her straight away.

'We'd made the agreement the week before and it's quite common in bingo. I've shared up to £600 before.'

Miss Stacey, 26, from Plymouth, added: 'The friendship we had was struck off as soon as we started going through the legal process.

'But me and Stacey are closer now than ever - we've been through this together and we're the only ones who know the truth.'