It could be you: suddenly rich but still a loser in life's lottery

Simon Midgley finds instant wealth has brought no cure for punters' problems
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The Independent Online
Winning huge sums of money does not buy you love, it seems, let alone happiness.

Yesterday three-times married Mark Gardiner, 33, appeared to be continuing a tradition of big lottery winners whose backgrounds are tending to distract from the fact that they have won millions of pounds.

Mr Gardiner, joint winner with Paul Maddison of Saturday's record lottery jackpot of pounds 22.6m, was the focus of a media scrum after being criticised in the Sun by both his estranged third wife and his adoptive mother. The latter, Irene Cresswell, was quoted as saying: "I hope he drinks himself to death with his money."

Since the first National Lottery draw on 19 November last year, 60 people have become millionaires, of whom about 15 have agreed to publicity. Mr Gardiner is the latest in a line to have tested the resources of Camelot's publicity machine to the fullest.

After the previous biggest winner, Mukhtar Mohidin, won pounds 17.8m in December last year he squabbled about the windfall with his family and friends. Mr Mohidin, 44, a factory worker from Blackburn, then decamped south to a pounds 375,000 mansion in the Home Counties, changed his name and obtained a legal order banning the identification of himself or his three children. He was condemned by leaders of his local mosque who said it was against the law to gamble and in April his friend, Ismail Lorgat, threatened to sue him for half his win claiming he had put up half the stake.

In May, a row over money at a family reunion led to him bundling several relatives into a car and driving to Amersham police station where they were held for several hours before being released without charge.

On Sunday, the News of the World reported him as saying: "I've been pissed off since I won ... I don't like people now."

In March, Lee Ryan, 32, a jobless father-of-three from Leicester, won pounds 6.5m with his partner, Karen Taylor. It later transpired that he is to stand trial for the alleged theft and handling of stolen cars.

One of the earliest winners of the lottery Lynn Turner, a 38-year-old shop assistant from Byram, West Yorkshire, who won pounds 1,760,966 with her mother, said she would have given it all away if she could have saved the life of her brother-in-law who later died of cancer.

Camelot offers winners the services of two independent financial advisers and two independent legal advisers for at least five years after their wins. It also has four other winners' advisers who advise more generally about things like how to handle relatives, begging letters and the publicity. What none of these advisers can do, however, is change human nature or guarantee that wealth will bring happiness.

In the very first draw last November, George Snell, 69, from Edmonton, north London, won pounds 839,254 with his daughter, Tricia Marden. Camelot laid on a press conference to reveal the identity of some of the winners. A grumpy Mr Snell delayed its start by half an hour after arriving late, refused to pose for the photographers and eventually stalked off to a nearby bar until the event was over. There's no pleasing some folk.

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