Frances and Patrick Connolly are celebrating the New Year in a way most of us can only dream of – as newly-minted multi-millionaires.
The lucky couple from County Armagh, Northern Ireland, have scooped almost £115m in the EuroMillions draw and have promised to share their wealth with their friends and loved ones.
Frances, 52, said: “This is a massive sum of money and we want it to have a huge impact on the lives of other people we know and love as well as on our future too. This win gives us the chance to really make a difference for our family and friends.”
Now, we obviously wish the Connollys all the best – but it might be prudent to at least be aware of the numerous times when winning the lottery hasn’t exactly been a positive experience...
1) The Man Who Blew It All On Cocaine And Prostitutes
Britain’s most notorious Lottery winner was without doubt Michael Carroll, who won £9.7m in 2002. He made no attempt to hide the fact he spent his winnings on drugs, parties and prostitutes – and a destruction derby race track in his back yard.
2) The Sneaky Winner Who Lost In The End
Now here is a story of karmic justice if ever there was one. In 1996 Denise Rossi won $1.3m on the California lottery. Instead of informing her husband of 25 years, she applied for divorce instead. Rossi then kept her winnings secret during the entire court proceedings.
Three years later, the truth came out and a court ruled she had violated state asset disclosure law. Her punishment? She was ordered to pay every single penny of her winnings to her ex-husband.
3) The Shattered Rock’n’Roll Dream
Roger and Lara Griffiths won £1.8m on the UK National Lottery in 2005, allowing them both to pursue their hobbies. She splurged on designer handbags and he recorded an album with the band he played with in university. Oh, and they also bought a massive house.
In 2013, Roger reportedly had £7 left in the bank.
4) The Man Whose Brother Tried To Kill Him
William “Bud” Post won $16.2m in the Pennsylvania lottery in 1988 – which is about when everything started to go wrong. First of all a former girlfriend sued him for a share of the winnings and then his brother hired a hitman to kill him.
He didn’t help matters when he fired a shotgun at a man who was trying to collect a debt from him related to his rapidly deteriorating home. Post died, broke, in 2006.
5) The Two-Time Winner Who Blew It All
While most of us dream of winning the lottery once, Evelyn Adams, of New Jersey, hit the jackpot in 1985 and 1986, bagging a total of $5.4m.
6) The Tragedy Of The Winner Who Couldn’t Say No
Abraham Shakespeare won a $17m lump-sum in 2006 at the age of 40. He was deluged by people asking for financial help and felt unable to say no, even allowing homeless people to stay in his new house.
One of those who made an extra-special effort to befriend Shakespeare was Dorice Donegan “Dee-Dee” Moore (right in picture).
Soon after Shakespeare disappeared. His body was found under a slab behind a home owned by Moore. He had been shot twice.
7) The ‘Unluckiest’ Lottery Winner
Jack Whittaker won a massive $315m in 2002, but has since said he wished he had torn up his winning ticket.
He was the victim of two thefts robbing him of $745,000, of an attempted plot to drug and rob him and then tragically, his granddaughter and her boyfriend both died of drug overdoses in his house.
8) The Man Who Just Couldn’t Handle It
Billie Bob Harrell, Jr. won $31m on the Texas lotto and, at first, thought his problems were over. He quit his job and gave much of his fortune to help those in need.
Eventually he became more and more hassled by people demanding money from him, having to change his phone number numerous times.
The pressure of this, combined with separating from his wife, were too much for him and he was found dead by his son with a self-inflicted head wound just two years after his win.