Lotto misery as some jackpot winners are cursing their luck

NewsBy Eamon Dillon
A big Lotto win doesn't always mean a good time...
A big Lotto win doesn't always mean a good time...

WINNING a mega Lottery is a life-changing moment and one that inspires many happy hours of daydreaming.

Yet a sea of cash is no protection against bad luck, a greedy family or pure stupidity – and for some a huge win becomes a terrible curse.

The not-so-rich may quote the saying ‘money can’t buy you happiness’, but as comedian Spike Milligan quipped: “I’d like to find out for myself.”

One person who did and survived is Ireland’s best-known and richest winner Dolores McNamara, who scooped a €115million EuroMillions prize.

The Limerick woman has clearly kept a level head and avoided the pitfalls that have dogged others who became multi-millionaires overnight.

Even though her identity became known almost immediately, she successfully managed to stay out of the glare of the media.

Her few trials and tribulations are small problems for someone so wealthy, such as the burglary of her son Gary’s home close to her own on the banks of Lough Derg, Co. Clare.

Just this week two thieves pleaded guilty to their part in stripping the house of material for scrap.

Gary was left with a bill of almost $130,000 after the pair stole expensive fittings and antiques and sold them on as scrap for less than €1,400.

It was heard in court that his uninsured lakeside mansion, Tinarana House, Co. Clare, was ‘gutted’ by thieves who stole chandeliers, light fittings, brass items and copper piping.

In contrast to Dolores, Co. Tyrone woman Margaret Loughrey hasn’t been coping with her new-found wealthy status as well.

‘Maggie Million’ won stg£27m in the Euromillions draw in 2013, but two weeks later ended up in court after attacking a taxi driver.

By the sounds of the evidence heard in court, Loughrey hasn’t been behaving well as she enjoys her cash.

She was convicted of attacking a taxi driver after a vodka binge, but then came back to court claiming to be unable to carry out her 150 hours of community service.

Her solicitor said she couldn’t complete the order because she finds the work too hard and doesn’t like getting the bus to work.

Instead, Maggie Million was sentenced to four months in prison suspended for two years and fined £300.

However, the best-known lottery winner suffering through bad luck of his own making is Michael Carroll (below).

Known as ‘the Lottery Lout’, the Norfolk man was a 19-year-old with a history of petty crime when he won almost £10m in 2002. He was wearing an electronic tag when he collected his winnings.

By 2010 he said he was being forced to sell his house and was due to start work as a dustman after spending his fortune.

There was an outcry in the U.K. when Iorworth Hoare won £7.2m.

When news of his win broke, he was outed as a convicted rapist who bought a ticket while on day release from prison

As a result the High Court ordered him to pay close to £100,000 to his victim, while his legal fees were reported to have reached almost £1m.

Callie Rogers became the U.K.’s youngest winner at the age of 16 when she won €1.8m on the National Lottery

But 10 years later she admitted she had frittered the money away on drugs and booze and became so depressed she attempted suicide. The mother-of-three said she’d been left with just £2,000, but added: “I’m finally truly happy.”

The size of the lottery also seems to add to the woes of winners. Jack Whittaker was already a millionaire when he won a $315m lottery in West Virginia in 2002. 

The owner of a construction firm claimed he went broke about four years later and lost a daughter and a granddaughter to drug overdoses, which he blamed on the curse of the Powerball win. 

“My granddaughter is dead because of the money,” he told ABC. 

“You know, my wife had said she wished that she had torn the ticket up. Well, I wish that we had torn the ticket up, too.”

Sandra Hayes (left) wrote the book on how a big lottery win is a life-changing event.

She won the Missouri lottery in 2006 and split a $224m Powerball with a dozen co-workers, but her generosity just caused more and more people to come looking for cash.

“These are people who you’ve loved deep down, and they’re turning into vampires trying to suck the life out of me,” she wrote in How Winning the Lottery Changed My Life. 

“I had to endure the greed and the need that people have, trying to get you to release your money to them,” she said in 2012. 

For Urjoor Khan winning $1m on scratch card in 2012 literally killed him. 

The Illinois shopkeeper died just days before he was due to collect a lump sum payment part of his winnings.

It was first thought he had died of natural causes, but his brother pushed for an investigation and lethal levels of cyanide was found in his blood.

His death has since be classified a murder, while his widow and daughter from another marriage are in a long legal battle to get hold of his assets.