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Home > Culture and Society

Money for old rape

13 August 2004

Iorworth Hoare, 52, currently serving a life sentence for rape, has won seven million pounds on the National Lottery.

Some people think that this is simply not right. They think that because he is a convicted rapist, he should not be allowed to win the lottery. But, the thing is, he did. He won the lottery. Fair and square. You've got to be in it to win it. He was in it. He won it. And although once again, it could have been you, it wasn't. Obviously. It was him. Life's a bitch.

Hoare received his cheque for seven million pounds on Wednesday. Yesterday his estranged wife, Irene Hoare, 55, told the Sun, ‘How the hell can a bastard like that be allowed to get his hands on £7million?' And so Irene is suing Ioworth. But not out of bitter self-interest. Heaven forfend. ‘I don't want a penny of that bastard's dirty money,' she said. ‘But I want to help all the people he has hurt.'

Like all day release or community project prisoners, Hoare is for the moment allowed to buy Lottery tickets. Apparently it is part of the rehabilitation process. It is part of what transforms the evil-doer into a normal fully-functioning stable member of society. Senior figures at Camelot are said to be ‘dismayed' at the win. They don't like the idea of a rapist getting rich off their backs any more than anyone else does.

But then isn't Hoare already paying for his crime? He's doing the time. He's in jail. Surely they can't take his legitimate winnings off him now, not after allowing him to buy a ticket? Well, they're certainly trying. Blunkett and Jowell are seething, desperate to make sure the rapist and his money are parted. But would that not at this stage be terribly unfair? Of course, some people might suggest that rapists don't deserve to be treated fairly. They are after all, rapists. They don't deserve to be treated fairly and they certainly don't deserve to win seven million pounds. It isn't difficult to agree at least with this last part. Out of the millions of people who weekly buy lottery tickets - desperate, wholesome people, decent people, perhaps with ailing loved ones to care for - for a man who rapes women to win it does seem a bit fucked up. But that's pretty much how it goes. It's like when the good brother dies of cancer aged 30, and the evil brother is still trampling over people well into his nineties. Happens all the time. Is it fair? No. It's not fair. It's life.

The Sun of course is apoplectic and loving every minute of it. They do like to get a good moral bandwagon rolling. Apparently they were weeping for joy last week when cancer sufferer Iris Jeffrey scooped a record twenty million. Not only did Iris win twenty million, she also won the hearts of the nation, apparently, when she ‘pledged to pump cash into cancer research.' Well good for her. Although it might have seemed slightly less self-serving had she pumped cash into AIDS research, or something for the children, the Sun ‘wept for joy' anyway. But this week they were ‘weeping with rage'. Their editorial ended with the words: ‘The Sun demands a change in the law to stop this madness ever happening again.' The Mirror agrees. Three inches up the same editorial were the words: ‘A relentless war on criminals is what Britain is crying out for.' Yes, and as any military tactician knows, the first thing to do in any war is to take away the enemy's lottery ticket.

In the final analysis, no-one wants bad guys to prosper. It just doesn't seem right. If there was a God, he wouldn't allow it. But there is no God. Sadly then, the best we can really do is to echo the sentiments of Iorworth's brother, Rhys, 56. Rhys told the Sun, ‘My first reaction when I heard he had won the Lottery was unprintable.' Then he calmed down. ‘I just hope this win means he will sort himself out.'

We hope that too.

Fingers crossed.



Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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