People who won it - and then lost it

Hatred, vilification, drunken binges, and spongers who didn't say thanks. David Lister on lottery losers - and a possible happy ending
Click to follow
The Independent Online
GARY ASHMORE, 29, an Elvis impersonator from Reading, won pounds 1.6m, moved to Gran Canaria and is drinking himself to death. He told the Sun he never misses "happy hour" at the local as they give two drinks for the price of one: thus can a jackpot affect your logic. Gary sleeps all day, then goes on a 10-hour binge, starting with a combination of champagne, seven pints of lager, seven alcopops and seven vodkas mixed with energy drink Red Bull, which presumably keeps him going for the next round. Gary has kidney pains and his weight is ballooning. But the weight problem could reap benefits: he could entertain locals with performances from Presley's Las Vegas years.

ROGER ROBAR has the most touching reason for lottery misery. The former chef gave pounds 1.5m of his pounds 5.8m win to 50 strangers who sent begging letters; not one had the courtesy to thank him. He paid off their debts and mortgages and helped a woman who said she had cancer. "As soon as the people were given the money they were off," he says. "I am not sad I gave the money to these people. I'm just sad they never thanked me. I just wanted them to phone ... Enough is enough. I am now fed up. It is not my money any more, it is my children's. I want to give my three-month- old son a start in life, and what I have left is for him." He will surely be taught to say thank you.

KARL CROMPTON's pounds 10.9m made him the fourth biggest lottery winner. But the 25-year-old says he spends much of his time watching television at his parents' modest semi. "The worst thing is that people are driving me away from Blackpool where I was born. They are so bitter because this is where I was brought up and now I'm driving around in a nice car and flying a helicopter. They look down on me and think, `You bastard - why was it you and not me?'"

His pounds 48,000 lilac BMW is constantly spat at and urinated on and he is afraid to drive his pounds 140,000 limited-edition Porsche. "Now I drive 20 miles down the road to Preston for a better atmosphere," he says.

LEE RYAN of Leicester would have been more than happy to be in Blackpool or Preston. He won pounds 6m on the lottery in March 1995 and was jailed for 18 months the following September on a car-theft charge. Just before the win, his girlfriend, Karen, mother of his three children, had told him their 16-year relationship was over as he faced jail again for handling stolen cars. While the couple struggled to come to terms with her decision, the jackpot came up. Actually, it was Karen's name on the ticket, but in post-feminist spirit she not only shared the win, but she asked him to marry her. "It was love not money, that finally won the day," she said. It's the way she tells them.

MARK GARDINER had a half-share in the biggest winning ticket so far - pounds 22m - and swiftly received a dollop of abuse to match. He was a "callous, sponging, violent drunk", said his adoptive mother. His second wife called him a "cheating rat" and demanded her cut as their decree absolute hadn't come through (she settled for pounds 1m). A "best friend" revealed he had once saved Mark's life, emphasising that he thoroughly regretted it now. His biological mother joined in, saying: "I have a vision of Mark finishing up with a Ferrari going into a brick wall - and I hope it's tomorrow." A Camelot press officer admitted there had been some "negative publicity".

Comments