A mother-of-six who won a US$136 million (£77 million) jackpot in one of the biggest lottery wins in history was in hiding last night.
Dolores McNamara, 50, fled her family home in County Limerick, Ireland, at the weekend after receiving a torrent of media interest following her extraordinary win.
The housewife and mother of six had been sitting in her local pub at Garryowen on Friday night when the winning numbers of the EuroMillions lottery appeared on television.
Her son Dean, 15, said, "When the numbers dropped mum fell in to a state of shock. It took a while for her friends to convince her she had won the jackpot, she couldn't believe it."
Ms McNamara seemed numb for 10 minutes — then she broke into tears. When the truth finally dawned on the former chemist shop assistant that she had won the biggest prize in European lottery history, she went down to the local police station.
Mrs McNamara wanted to hand over the ticket for safe-keeping until she could collect her prize after the Irish bank holiday on Tuesday.
However, the police baulked at taking responsibility for it and a local bank manager was roused out of bed to put the precious piece of paper in a bank vault.
Having ensured it was behind lock and key the manager dropped her back off at her local — the Track Bar — for a champagne celebration.
Last night, Ms McNamara had left her white terraced bungalow and gone into hiding.
Neighbors said the housewife was staying in a nearby hotel to escape intense media interest, though drinkers at her local claimed she had flown out of the country.
Her childhood friend, Geraldine Donohoe, said she had been 'devastated' by the win.
"She is a lovely person. She married and she raised a lovely family. She more than deserved what she got," she said.
Ms McNamara and her bricklayer husband Adrian have six children — Dawn, 28, Kim, 22 and Kevan, 20, Gary, 26, Dean, 15, and Lee, 13.
Jackie Greer, a taxi-driver who was in the pub when she won, said, "She had been worried about buying school uniforms for her children ... she has nothing to worry about now.
"She just kept repeating, 'I can't believe it!' When it finally hit she just started crying. The atmosphere was just electric. Everybody got on their mobile phones and started to spread the news."
Yesterday, officials in Ireland said they could not confirm an Irish winner until the person comes in with the winning ticket.
"Obviously is it all over the papers but there is a formal procedure," Paula McEvoy of the National Lottery said.
"The offices will be open on Tuesday but it would be mid- to late next week at the earliest, that the person would get the money, because of the magnitude of the amount. The funds would have to come from abroad.
"It is up to the winner, however, they may choose not to come in for two months. They have 90 days from the day of the draw."
Hopefuls in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Portugal, Switzerland, France, Spain, Austria, Belgium and Luxembourg participate in Europe's weekly draw each Friday.
To win the jackpot, players need to match five main numbers from 1 to 50, and 2 Lucky Star numbers from 1 to 9. Friday's winning numbers were 3, 19, 26, 49 and 50, and Lucky Stars 4 and 5.
The Euro Millions jackpot had not been won since the middle of May and had rolled over nine times. The UK's largest National lottery jackpot was £42 million shared by three ticket holders in 1996 while the biggest individual win in the world was a 2002 US Powerball prize of US$315 million.
Europe's previous biggest lottery draw prize was £72m won on the Italian Superenalotto in May while UK's top Euromillions jackpot winner is Marion Richardson, from Gateshead, who won £16.7m on 9 April, 2004, two months after the game was launched.
The UK's biggest single winner revealed to date is Iris Jeffrey, from Belfast, who won £20.1m on 14 July, 2004.