Millionaire parents have no obligation to support their children financially for life, especially if they are stingy, wasteful and ungrateful. Unfortunately, that is the situation that the Dawes faced recently. A London judge has just ruled that Dave and Angela Dawes – a modest marriage from Cambridgeshire (UK) to which the Euromillion made him immensely rich – need not continue to give money to his son, Michael, every time he asks. The history of this family is one of those that make people think that money does not buy happiness and it always brings problems.
Dave, a factory supervisor, and Angela, a volunteer at the British Heart Foundation, uncorked smiling bottles of champagne the day they learned they had won almost 118 million euros for Euromillion (exactly 117,846,317 pounds). “It’s crazy,” she said, that month of October 2011, when she was 43 and her husband was 47. One of the first things they did was to call their son Michael, who, at the age of 27, served as a Marine in Afghanistan. Angela is her stepmother. Our problems are over, they told themselves.
The first thing the winning couple did, residing in Wisbech, was to distribute money among their relatives. They gave their son a million pounds (1.16 million euros at today’s change), money that would have allowed him to “live comfortably all his life,” according to the judge. Michael Dawes, now a university professor, and his de facto partner, James Beedle, then bought a home in Portsmouth for almost 600,000 euros and spent another 300,000 euros in celebrating their luck with friends and family. In addition, they wasted between 23,000 and 34,000 euros per month, amounts that Nigel Gerald, a judge of the Central Court of London County, has described in his sentence as “astonishing” and “totally out of his possibilities.”
Dave and Angela continued dealing with their son. But, they were baffled that Michael asked for more funds in April 2012, six months after receiving a million pounds. “Michael thought then that this was the proof that his father would finance him every time he asked him, which reinforced his strange conclusion that his father would support him financially for the rest of his life,” according to the judge. And he asked for another five million pounds.
After an argument with his son during a party, in which both were totally drunk, Dave said ‘you need to slow down’. So, in March 2013, given that the pace of spending did not slow, he gave an ultimatum to Michael: “I pay the debts you have right now, but there will be no more money.” And that is when the son took him to trial in order to obtain a sentence that assured him to live for life with the millions that remained. The sentence is clear. The parents were “generous,” but Michael and James “have not gratefully paid the generosity” they benefited from. Thusly, the judge concluded that he cannot come and ask for money every time he runs out. It’s a tragic case that shows to always treat new fortunes with caution.