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Jobless father, 30, who won £3.75m on a gambling website still claiming up to £3,000 benefits


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Thomas Roche, 30, and his wife Shelley, 30, hit the jackpot in October but has left his friends furious by continuing to take child benefits, child tax credits and disability living allowance as those are not means-tested

A jobless father-of-eight who won £3.75million on a gambling website is still claiming up to £3,000 a month in benefits despite splashing out on a six-bedroom home and five luxury cars.

Thomas Roche, 30, hit the jackpot in October but has left friends furious by continuing to claim child benefits, child tax credits and disability living allowance as those are not means-tested.

Along with his wife Shelley, 30, and their large brood, Thomas is upping sticks from their council home in Eltham, South East London, to an £850,000 six-bedroom home with stables and three acres of land near Dover in Kent. 

Since landing his jackpot, former traveller Thomas has bought five cars and a quad bike, but not everyone is happy that they’ve continued claiming benefits.

‘It’s a millionaire on benefits. It’s rubbing people up the wrong way,’ a friend told The Sun. 

‘It’s all right for some but they shouldn’t be allowed to keep their benefits. He’s had the ultimate reward for sitting around and not working.’

Thomas and Shelley said they told authorities about the win, which came on the first attempt at Bet365’s Reel King Slot, but admitted they were surprise at being allowed to keep their generous benefits allowance.

Shelley said: ‘We were both playing it but Tommy was holding the phone. We put £58 in our online account and it was £1 per go.

Along with his wife Shelley, 30, and the large brood, Thomas is moving from their council home in Eltham, South East London, to a six-bedroom home with stables near Dover in Kent. Since landing his jackpot, former traveller Thomas has bought five cars and a quad bike, but not everyone is happy that they've continued claiming benefits

Along with his wife Shelley, 30, and the large brood, Thomas is moving from their council home in Eltham, South East London, to a six-bedroom home with stables near Dover in Kent. Since landing his jackpot, former traveller Thomas has bought five cars and a quad bike, but not everyone is happy that they’ve continued claiming benefits

Thomas Roche, 30

Shelley Roche, 30

Thomas and Shelley said they told authorities about the win, which came on the first attempt at Bet365’s Reel King Slot, but admitted they were surprise at being allowed to keep their generous benefits

‘I went to the loo and came back as it was rolling in. I couldn’t believe it. I thought he was going to win like £16. 

‘It was the first time we played that game. It’s like a fruit machine, you put your stake on and press ‘start’

Thomas said after his big windfall, he assumed the family would lose their benefits.

‘Obviously being on benefits and having this sort of money, we thought we would get in trouble. 

‘They said we didn’t have to worry because it’s tax-free cash. The only thing we’ll lose is income support, but we still get to keep childcare stuff.’

The father-of-eight said their eldest son, 12, has ADHD, a daughter, ten, is autistic and another boy, eight, struggles with a hyperactive disorder, meaning they are all entitled to government handouts of up to £600 Disability Living Allowance.

Thomas refused to say how much they were now getting, but a family of their size is entitled to at least £2,000 a month in child tax credit, plus £505 in child benefits. 

The Department for Work and Pensions said: ‘Some benefits aren’t linked to income, but people can choose not to claim if they feel they don’t need them.’ 

Along with his wife Shelley, 30, and their large brood, Thomas is upping sticks from their council home in Eltham, South East London , to an £850,000 six-bedroom home with stables and three acres of land near Dover in Kent

Along with his wife Shelley, 30, and their large brood, Thomas is upping sticks from their council home in Eltham, South East London , to an £850,000 six-bedroom home with stables and three acres of land near Dover in Kent 

Describing her joy at winning the life changing sum, full-time carer Shelley added: ‘I was trying to ring my brother, my sister, his mum.’ 

‘We were trying to ring everyone. We had to wait until the next day to get the money. We never thought we’d win that. We thought it was a computer error.’

Their kids – aged 12, 10, nine, seven, five, three, one, eight months – have never been abroad and are set to swap holidays in Sheerness to dream trips to Disneyland.

The pair never went out as a family by car because they only had a VW Beetle, but now have a fleet of cars and are next set to add a BMW X5 to the collection.

Tommy has been out of work since he worked at a recycling centre two years ago and Shelley is a full-time carer to one of their sons.

Roche family benefits

A family with eight children is entitled to at least £2,000 a month in child tax credit

Additionally, a further £505 in child benefit 

Three children with disabilities mean they are entitled to an extra £600 in  Disability Living Allowance

As well as the new house, the couple plan to invest in other properties to rent back to the council – and businesses such as bakeries or salons.

‘We’ve been together since we were 15 and married for two years,’ she added.

‘I’m a carer for my son who has ADHD. He needs to be taken to school which is a little way away and take the other kids to two different schools. 

Shelley went on to describe how life has changed for them since landing the cash prize.

‘We didn’t have a car for us all to go out in. So we didn’t go out past 4pm when the kids were home from school.

‘We had to use public transport. I want to go to New York and Disneyland with the kids.

‘But I’ve got to get passports from them. They haven’t got them. We have only been to Sheerness.’

The overnight millionaires scooped the £3,790,637.42 winnings – a win Shelley described as ‘truly life changing.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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