£10m lottery man gets 12-month drugs order

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The Independent Online

A man who won almost £10m from the National Lottery entered a downward spiral of drugs and despair after his wife left him, taking their one-year-old child with her, a court was told yesterday.

A man who won almost £10m from the National Lottery entered a downward spiral of drugs and despair after his wife left him, taking their one-year-old child with her, a court was told yesterday.

Michael Carroll's descent into cocaine addiction was played out before Swaffham magistrates' court in Norfolk, where the 20-year-old appeared for sentencing, for possessing 19.7 grams of the class A drug with a street value of about £1,000. He also had cannabis resin, herbal cannabis and magic mushrooms in his possession.

Sixteen months ago Carroll, described as a persistent offender, appeared at a Camelot press conference to celebrate his £9.7m jackpot win, wearing an electronic tag, and vowing to change his ways.

But the former £200-a-week dustman's lottery win has not bought him happiness despite splashing out £1m on shares in Glasgow Rangers football club, £80,000 on an Olympic-sized swimming pool, £500,000 on a demolition derby track and a £325,000 on a Spanish-style hacienda near Swaffham.With money to spend, the lure of mopeds prove irresistible and last April he was ordered to complete 80 hours' community service for riding while disqualified. He failed to comply and was fitted with another tag to ensure he kept a curfew.

Previous offences began catching up with him and he was fined £12,000 for benefit fraud committed before his win.

The departure of his wife and daughter to Ireland left him "empty, depressed and lonely," said his solicitor, Neil Meachem, in court yesterday."Effectively, the drugs dilute the loneliness, plugging the gap left by the departure of his wife and child," Mr Meachem said. "Of course, this was a very, very foolhardy mistake and he quickly became addicted to cocaine and he has really replaced one problem with another."

Julia Richardson, the magistrates' chairman, who heard of the "awful disintegration" of Carroll's marriage to Sandra, 20, ordered him to pay £70 costs and submit himself to a 12-month drug testing order. Mrs Richardson said: "You have not got a good record for complying with court orders but you have to comply with this one."

Carroll has been before the courts more than 30 times, and served two months in jail for driving while disqualified and criminal damage.