A MULTI-million pound lottery winner, who claimed to have bought his ticket in Worcester, has appeared in court for the start of his fraud trial.

Edward Putman, 54, denies fraud by false representation after allegedly claiming an outstanding jackpot of £2.5 million with a fake ticket in 2009.

Earlier today St Albans Crown Court heard the winner of the genuine ticket, which had the numbers 6, 9, 20, 21, 31 and 34 and was bought in Worcester, has never been found.

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Putman, is accused of conspiring with friend Giles Knibbs, who worked in the securities department at Camelot between 2004 and 2010, to submit a damaged fake ticket to take the top prize in September 2009, just before the 180-day limit to claim prizes was due to expire.

The trial at St Albans Crown Court was told Mr Knibbs did not feel he had received his fair share of the jackpot, which was paid out to Putman, and they had a bitter argument.

Mr Knibbs killed himself later that year, the court was told, having been arrested for burglary, blackmail and criminal damage.

James Keeley, prosecuting, told the jury: "The prosecution ask you to keep your eye on the ball, in that the clear picture that comes out from what Mr Knibbs told his friends is that a fraud took place and both he and the defendant were involved in it."

Mr Keeley said the ticket submitted by the defendant was badly damaged, but on September 8, 2009, Camelot decided he was the genuine winner and paid out.

The prosecutor said: "They had been conned."

The court was told Mr Knibbs had been working late one night during his time at Camelot when he saw a document being printed, containing details of big wins which had not yet been claimed.

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Evidence suggested Mr Knibbs was paid an initial £280,000 from Putman for his part in the alleged ruse, followed by much smaller increments totalling £50,000, Mr Keeley said.

The court was told Mr Knibbs had told friends that he had "conned" the lottery, and that he had done so with Putman. But he was said to be "terrified" in the time leading up to his suicide that details of his involvement in the alleged fraud would emerge.

Mr Keeley, referring to testimony from one of Mr Knibbs' friends, said: "Mr Knibbs said that the defendant was telling lies about him and thus wanted to create an alternative story without exposing the lottery fraud.

"He was very upset about the betrayal by the defendant."

Putman, of Station Road, Kings Langley, Hertfordshire, arrived at court dressed in dark clothing, including sunglasses and a cap.

The trial is expected to last two weeks.