A former Army major who cheated his way to the £1MILLION top prize on ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’ sliced off three of his toes with a lawnmower – after slipping on a rotten apple.
Clumsy Charles Ingram, 47 – dubbed the ‘coughing major’ after he was caught cheating on the show – was involved in an accident whilst mowing his one acre garden.
Three toes on his left foot were severed when the mower’s steel blades tore through his Wellington boots and mangled his foot.
Father-of-three Ingram managed to drag himself back to his house before a friend dialled 999 and an ambulance rushed him to hospital for surgery.
Mr Ingram, who lives with wife Diana in Easterton, near Devizes, Wilts., yesterday recalled the moment he saw his severed big toe lying on the ground.
He said: ”I was using my hover mower to mow the bank at the back of the garden and trying to avoid the apple tree when I slipped on a rotten apple.
”I tried to avoid the blade of the lawn mower but it went over my foot. I was only wearing Wellingtons and it sliced right through the rubber.
”I remember seeing my big toe lying on the grass and thinking, ‘oh dear’. I got up and managed to shuffle down to the front of the garden.
”Fortunately, someone was just arriving to pick up a laptop I?d been fixing for her. She rang for an ambulance and I was very impressed when two turned up in very quick time.”
Ingram was mowing the lawn on September 8 when he lost his footing on a rotten apple and his foot slipped into the powerful steel blades on the mower.
The ends of three of his toes were sliced clean off and the rest of his foot left ‘mangled’ following the accident in his one acre garden last week.
He stumbled back to his three-bedroom detached house before a neighbour called an ambulance, before being rushed to Salisbury District Hospital, where he underwent surgery to clean the wound and re-attach the toes.
Ingram, who now runs a computer business, added: ”The first operation was to clean the wound.
”They were particularly concerned about foxes and dogs having been in the garden, presumably because of contamination.
”I had a second operation last Friday. Fortunately, the cut was very clean. I won?t need the blade sharpening for some time. So they stitched me up and sent me home on Saturday morning.
”It could have been a lot worse. I am still in pain and I am only just able to apply pressure to the ball of my foot, but I have not lost my balance.”
Ingram said he was grateful for the good wishes of fellow villagers.
He added: ”Almost as soon as it happened, people started putting cards through the letterbox with wishes for me to get well soon.
”It really is amazing how quickly the news gets about.”
In 2001 Ingram, his wife Diana and university lecturer Tecwen Whittock were convicted of deception for attempting to cheat on Chris Tarrant’s ITV quiz show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
He used coughs from Whittock, who sat among the other contestants, to guide himself to the correct answers and was later kicked out the Army, where he served as major in the Royal Engineers.