PIC: Reuters

A convicted rapist who won almost £5m on the lottery has submitted a planning application to build a 30-bedroom hotel near one of Britain's biggest motorways.

Edward Putnam, 47, was jailed for breaking into a house and raping a 17-year-old girl twice in 1993.

His plans to build the hotel on the site of the £600,000 house in Kings Langley, Hertfordshire, near the M25 were rejected by Three Rivers Council last month.

Putnam served four years of his seven year sentence, and subsequently scooped £4.5 million in the lottery in 2009.

After the win, he originally requested anonymity from National Lottery operators Camelot, who were unaware of his conviction.

However, when he tried to buy his one-bedroom council flat in Hemel Hempstead with £83,000 cash, council officers became suspicious.

His criminal past came to light when it was found that Putnam had claimed more than £15,000 in housing benefit and income support subsequent to his win, despite having millions in the bank.

Millionaire benefit fraudster

In a subsequent trial, he admitted two counts of benefit fraud and was sentenced to two months in prison in 2012.

Since being released, Putnam is believed to have invested in a number of properties, and has hired property developers to draw up detailed plans for his latest scheme near the M25.

Despite the council's recent rejection, Putnam may submit revised plans for a new application.

Some locals though were appalled by the idea of a convicted rapist running a local hostelry.
"Putman's the last person who should have anything to do with owning a hotel," one local told the Sunday People.

"What he did to that poor girl was unforgivable. I certainly wouldn't want to stay there."

However, a property agent acting for Putnam said that the scheme had a lot of support.

"There was a lot of support for it from local people so it's something we have got to balance the whole thing up and make a decision on.

"The application was made and has been determined.

"The situation now is we need to look at that decision and decide what we do from there, bearing in mind the amount of support the application had."