Karl Crompton is extremely rich and very dishy and extremely rich and only 24. He may, also, be extremely rich. Of course, I like him a lot from the off. We even end up in a night-club, which is quite something for me as I'm now at that age where if I don't go straight to bed after Animal Hospital I've pretty much had it the next day. But Karl is such a honey I do not want the evening to end. He is also single. And may even be extremely rich.
A year ago last May, Karl won pounds 10,903,198 on the lottery. Or at least I think it was pounds 10,903,198. Frankly, I don't take much notice of such things. I do know he needs a steady, though. He's never really had a steady, although he's had lots of casual sex. How many girls exactly have you slept with, Karl? "Loads. But I've never counted them up." I say I've probably slept with about five in my time. "Five?" he exclaims, aghast. "I had five when I went to Corfu for a fortnight!"
Of course, my total isn't five really. I was just exaggerating to impress him. No, I don't tell him this. But I do tell him that what he needs most, it seems to me, is a meaningful relationship with a mature woman who doesn't give it away so easily but might reconsider if it came down to a Porsche, say. He says he needs to go the bathroom, and wanders off. The music is thumpingly loud. The vibration alone is making my dental work rattle. Karl takes his time. The bathroom in this club is a long way off, obviously. But, no, I'm not going to slip away. I'm imagining myself in the Porsche. And, you know what, I look pretty good in it. "Cooee Karl! I'm over here...!" The silly boy. He's returned to the wrong table.
Nearly pounds 11m is, of course, a lot of money. Invested at the normal rates, it would bring in around pounds 20,000 a week. Not that Karl still has the pounds 11m. Yes, he has spent a fair chunk of it. He gave his mum and dad a million. He gave his brother a million. He took five friends to Hawaii for a fortnight. He has just bought a plot of land outside his home town, Blackpool. Here, he is building himself a mansion which, by the sound of it, will have lots of swimming pool and marbled, ensuite things going on.
He is motorbike mad and has bought a Ducatti this and Honda that and a Suzuki followed by lots of Zs, which I think means it's quite tasty. He also owns a Porsche 911 GT2 which does 0-60mph in 0.3 seconds "and doesn't even have a heated rear window, because of the weight". Plus, he's just passed his helicopter pilot's licence. But, no, he won't be buying a helicopter. "They're not that expensive. You can get one for pounds 170,000. But the upkeep is very expensive. I'll rent one when I need one, I think."
Yes, there has been resentment. His BMW run-around has been "pissed on and spat on". A couple of weeks ago, a woman came up to him in a pub, tapped him on the shoulder, and said: "Are you Karl Crompton?" "Yes," he said. "Well, I think you're a complete tosser," she said. "Just sod off then," he said. She's lucky she didn't get a punch in the nose, frankly. When Karl was 19 he was sentenced to nine months in prison for smashing a glass in someone's face during a pub brawl. Karl has an on-off thing with a girl called Nicole from back home. It's off at the moment because he can't say "I love you" to her, which is what she wants him to do. Karl might have a problem verbally expressing himself. Karl doesn't read books because "they're a complete waste of time, aren't they?". Yes, I concur wholeheartedly. I'm sorry, readers, but I really do want this romance to progress.
How much money does he actually have left? He says he hasn't a clue. "Every now and then my financial people send me a portfolio, but I only ever glance at it." You don't keep a close eye on it, then? "No. The bank appointed these people, and I just let them get on with it." He had come down to London to go on This Morning and was staying overnight. We meet initially at his hotel. I pay for the drinks. Then, later, I pay for a meal and the club and the taxis. Karl offers, but I don't want him to think I am only after his money. He says a lot of people feel like this. He says that since the win, he's never bought less rounds in his life. He's rather like the man with the million pound note.
Anyway, he had spent the afternoon in Covent Garden, where he had purchased a Paul Smith watch and a jumper from Reiss, even though he claims the novelty of being able to buy whatever he fancies is beginning to wear off. Yes, sometimes he does miss the Blackpool branch of Comet where he was an assistant manager before the win. "I'd worked my way up from a YTS boy. I was a very good salesman. I was very good at selling video recorders. And Dyson vacuum cleaners, which are brilliant."
His ambition was to become manager and then, perhaps, a regional manager. He was perfectly happy. The job, he says, presented "a new challenge every day and I got to meet lots of different people". No, he did not consider staying on after the win. When you're worth pounds 11m, it's quite hard to get excited about kettles and toasters. Comet were very good to him, though. "They let me keep my staff discount card until it expired." Yes, he still pops in. "I say how much for this if it's cash?"
Now, though, where are the challenges? Now, though, where's the purpose in life? How does it feel when the need to work is taken away? Good, on the whole, he says, although he's just started up a motorbike racing team, "which gives me something to do, and is a challenge, although not as big a challenge as Comet, where I really had to motivate staff to get my bonuses." The photographer gets very het up. You could go off and study, he says. You could do something for children without the usual number of limbs, he continues. You could collect art. Karl says he bought back a very nice water-colour from Hawaii, as it happens. It's of a cottage by a waterfall. He's building a gallery for it in his new house. No, his life doesn't have much purpose. But such a thing wouldn't trouble him because he's just not a troubled sort of person.
It's everyone's fantasy to have a big lottery win. So what's it actually like? How did it go, Karl? He was out clubbing in Blackpool, he says, on the night the draw was made. He didn't get back home until 11ish on the Sunday morning. His mum, Pat, a chiropodist's receptionist who has carried on working part-time, met him at the door. "You're looking at a lottery winner," she said excitedly. "How much have you won, Mum?" Karl asked. "Ninety one pounds," she exclaimed happily.
Karl went upstairs to get his ticket, which was in the pocket of yesterday's jeans. He bought the ticket back down. He asked his mum if she'd written the winning numbers down. She said she'd written them on the back of The Radio Times. He went to have a look at them. The numbers were identical to the ones on his ticket. He thought his mum or his dad (a laminator who has since given up work) or his brother (a security guard who's also packed in the day job) were playing a joke. Obviously, one of them had sneaked a look at his ticket, then written the numbers down. "Who's the joker?' Karl asked his mum. His mother looked at him. "From her expression, I knew." No, he can't now remember what his numbers were. Apart from 32, which was his salesman's number at Comet.
What did he feel exactly, on realising he had won? First it was disbelief, he says. Then it was excitement and nausea and the shakes all mixed up together. And then it was disbelief again. He checked the numbers umpteen times on Ceefax and Teletext before phoning Camelot. Two Camelot advisors were with him by evening. But it being a bank holiday the next day, Karl was told he would have to hang on to his ticket until Tuesday. He kept it in his back pocket, he says. No, he didn't sleep with it, although the Camelot people told him a lot of people would have. One man, they said, even kept it Sellotaped to his bottom. "They said it wasn't very nice to handle by the time they got it."
He went public, he says, because he knew he wanted to blow a portion of it straight off, and it would have been hard to account for it if he hadn't. Yes, he got hundreds of begging letters and still does. He ignores them all. He even, just after his win, got a note from a cousin he hadn't seen for years. "Dear Karl," the note began, "you have always been my favourite cousin..." The cousin later turned up asking for money. It was only pounds 1,500 for a deposit on a house, but Karl refused him. "I knew he'd had three holidays that year. He could have put his own money towards a house." What would he do if a mate, say, wanted to borrow a tenner to see him to the end of the week? "I would lend it to him, but not ask for it back. Then the ball would be in his court..."
On the whole, he seems to have dealt with things quite well. Certainly, he has done right by his mates, it seems. After the initial euphoria and the Hawaii business they did, yes, stop calling him. "I'd call them on a Saturday and say, you going out? Yeah, they would say. Well, why didn't you call me then?" They said it was hard for them. Should they let him pay?, for example. Karl gathered them together. "I said to them if you have a problem, then let's hear about it. They said I was in a different league now, because I had money. I said yes, I had money, but I was still in their league. I said it was as difficult for me as it was for them. I said I needed them to help me through it. I said I needed them to keep my feet on the ground." Karl is taking 15 of his closest friends to Jamaica for the New Year. This, I guess, is one way of helping him keep his feet on the ground.
Sex? More before the win? Or after? Before, actually. Corfu, for example, was before, whereas in Hawaii, which was after, he didn't get his leg over at all. He says girls up North - "who aren't that impressed by money" - are suspicious of him, whereas he's suspicious of the girls down South. Look at the ones who go out with Peter Stringfellow, he says. "Now, you can't tell me they're with him for his personality or looks." He'd fancied Nicole, a local girl, for a year before his win, but she was going out with someone else. As Nicole is reported to have said when she dumped her boyfriend, she wasn't doing it for the pounds 11m. "It's just that circumstances have changed." Surprising, that. No, he doesn't know if they'll get back together. Meanwhile, "I'm enjoying my freedom."
At this precise moment a supple young thing in a Wonderbra wriggles past. "I like women with athletic bodies," Karl confides. Yes. I say I once went to an aerobics class which was very good even though I vomited afterwards. I ask him if he wants to dance. I'm up for it although I cannot vouch for my dental work, I tell him. He says he had a motorbike accident not so long ago and still has a dickey leg, which is a shame, because otherwise he'd love to. Then he says he has to go because he has an early appointment with his financial advisors in the morning. He says it's been quite a fun evening. "I like you even though you're jokes don't make sense," he says. I say I've known quite a few successful relationships built on less. He says: "Cheerio, then."Reuse content