Lottery winner blows £1.8m: unlucky or daft?


Lottery winner

Tales of lottery winners losing everything are usually stories of partying without a thought for the consequences. Lottery winner Roger Griffiths, aged 42 and currently living in Harrogate, certainly lived his share of the high life, but says he was left with just £7 in the bank of a £1.8m win because of unfortunate investments and the recession.

So just how unfortunate can a man be?


Griffiths isn't pretending not to have wasted a penny. He told The Sun that after winning in 2005 he left his job and bought some seriously silly things. Among the most extravagant were a new home, a Porsche and the £25,000 he spent getting his university band back together to make a record (they eventually sold just 600 CDs).

However, he also made what he thought were wise investments. According to The Daily Mail, he and his wife bought a beauty salon - with the idea that it would bring in a steady income for life.

Unfortunately, after the recession hit, the salon started losing money. The couple remortgaged their new home and spent even more money on the salon - hoping that things would improve. The stress led to the breakdown of their marriage and the failure of the business. The family home was destroyed in a fire, and he had to move into a second property he had bought as an investment.

He is back in work, as a recruitment consultant, but spends much of his income servicing and repaying debts. He told The Sun: "I walk around the house sometimes wondering, 'How did it come to this?' To a certain extent I have only myself to blame, but I also feel cheated by the financial crisis. My luck stopped when I won the lottery."


The unusual aspect of this tale isn't that a lottery winner has lost it all - but that he did so while trying to do the sensible thing.

It's far more common to blow a lottery win through reckless abandon. Britain's most famous lottery disaster was Michael Carroll, who won £9.7 million in 2002 and blew it all in record time on a variety of poor decisions and reckless indulgences. He split with his wife, who left with his daughter, and by 2010 had spent the lot and returned to living on benefits.

Callie Rogers from Cumbria, meanwhile, won £1.9 million at the age of 16 in 2003. She bought a home, which was subsequently trashed, became addicted to drugs, and was down to her last £30,00 when she met her current boyfriend and things started looking up.

Edward Putman, 46, a former bricklayer from Kings Langley in Hertfordshire, added insult to injury by adding benefit fraud to the the list of post-lottery mistakes. He won £5 million on the lottery and continued to claim benefits without admitting to the windfall. He admitted to benefits fraud last July and was jailed for nine months.

But what do you think? Is it easy to spend a lottery win, or did these individuals bring it on themselves? Let us know in the comments.

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Forbes rich list: the world's top ten billionaires