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UK lottery winner says he's happier now that the money's gone

Nov 14, 2014, 7:28 am

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After the Big WinAfter the Big Win: UK lottery winner says he's happier now that the money's goneRating:

A small-time criminal who won £6.5 million (US$10.2 million) in the UK National Lottery but ended up homeless told yesterday how the win had been a "curse".

Lee Ryan spent two years sleeping rough after blowing his fortune.

He now rents a two-room flat and earns less than £10,000 a year — but insists that he is happier today than when he was a millionaire.

Mr. Ryan, 54, hit the jackpot in March 1995. At the time he was awaiting trial for handling stolen cars.

Nicknamed the Lotto Lag, he was jailed for 18 months for the offence six months after landing the jackpot. 

The first British lottery millionaire to end up in prison, he served nine months of his sentence.

He says he was "a monster then" and his win saved him from descending into serious crime, claiming he had been on the verge of carrying out an armed robbery.

Mr. Ryan, then a used car trader, won £6,527,880 with girlfriend Karen Taylor just 17 weeks after the launch of the National Lottery. 

At the time, the couple lived in a council house in Braunston, Leicester, with their three children. 

They married that summer and Mr Ryan splashed out on a £1 million country mansion and a fleet of cars, including a Bentley, a Ferrari, a Porsche and BMW with personalised number plates LEE 1, LEE 2, LEE 3 and LEE 4.

He also bought two Ducati superbikes, a £125,000 plane and a £235,000 Bell JetRanger helicopter. 

He was later fined for using the aircraft to buzz homes.

In a newspaper interview yesterday, Mr Ryan told how he had prayed to God to make him a millionaire while serving a prison sentence in 1986 for stealing cars.

"My cellmate warned me to be careful what I wished for," he said. "The money was cursed."

He and Miss Taylor split in 2003 after he cheated on her. 

He moved to London, where he met 24-year-old student Jyldyz Djangaracheva, known as Jika. 

They moved to her homeland, the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia, with their baby daughter. 

But Mr. Ryan lost around £2 million in failed business ventures and property investments.

One venture to build a fish farm in the central Asian republic fell foul of local mafia bosses.

He claims crooked officials cheated him out of his cash in another scheme, a text message-based lottery in China. 

By 2010, he had divorced Jika and returned to Britain with nothing but a sleeping bag. He says he spent the next two years sleeping rough — on park benches, in cemeteries or in doorways.

He added, "I travelled all over the country. I bumped into what I call 'living angels' where I am not asking anybody for anything and someone turns up saying, 'Are you all right, mate?' "

Mr. Ryan now lives in a rented flat in South London — where he claims to take in the homeless as guests — and works as a cameraman. 

He said he would probably have ended up spending life in prison if his lottery numbers had not come up and revealed that he had once threatened Miss Taylor with a shotgun.

At the time of the lottery win, he claimed, he was in the advanced stages of planning an armed robbery — "a really big job" — in Belgium.

He said he had planned to carry a loaded gun, adding, "If they [the robbery victims] wanted to play silly b*****s, they'd get it in the knees at the very least." 

He added, "I'm not that person now but I was a monster then. 

"There's also no doubt that the lottery saved me as a person and saved the lives of my potential victims. The win saved me from that fate — and someone else from being my victim."

Yesterday, Miss Taylor, 55, said she was no longer in contact with Mr. Ryan, adding, "Neither are our children, as far as I know."

She declined to comment further. 

The couple's youngest child, Nile, 26, also declined to comment.

In May 2001, ex-RAF engineer Nigel Gardner-Hale became the second lottery millionaire to be jailed. 

Mr. Gardner-Hale, who won £3.4 million on a Lucky Dip ticket, was arrested when police raided a party at his home in Maesteg, South Wales. 

He admitted possessing 44 ecstasy tablets, supplying the drug, and letting guests smoke cannabis.

He was jailed for 12 months. 

News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

Daily Mail, Lottery Post Staff

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31 comments. Last comment 6 years ago by Teddi.
Page 1 of 3
Avatar
California
United States
Member #141200
April 7, 2013
280 Posts
Offline

I wish I was "cursed" with millions of dollars.

    hearsetrax's avatar - alien on_computer.jpg

    United States
    Member #52343
    May 21, 2007
    3290 Posts
    Online

    hes just the other thug

      sully16's avatar - sharan
      25
      Ringleader
      Michigan
      United States
      Member #81738
      October 28, 2009
      76861 Posts
      Offline

      Yikes, his drama is far from over.

      Winter is coming !   Ned Stark.

        cbr$'s avatar - maren
        100
        Cordova,Al.
        United States
        Member #104478
        January 15, 2011
        11420 Posts
        Offline

        I wonder if people lost all common sense , when they win the jackpots.

          Avatar
          Chasing $ Millions.
          White Shores- California
          United States
          Member #136473
          December 12, 2012
          6337 Posts
          Offline

          I wonder if people lost all common sense , when they win the jackpots.

          I Agree!....not too bright though. Who in their right mind purchases a helicopter & a plane on a $10 mil jackpot win?

           * Voice of Reason *   

           

          People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it- George Bernard Shaw.

            Drenick1's avatar - villiarna
            USA
            United States
            Member #152794
            February 25, 2014
            1103 Posts
            Offline

            I Agree!....not too bright though. Who in their right mind purchases a helicopter & a plane on a $10 mil jackpot win?

            "Who in their right mind purchases a helicopter & a plane on a $10 mil jackpot win?"

             

            Someone who is delusional about their wealth. This not only applies to lottery winners but to professional athletes as well.

              Get paid's avatar - Lottery-062.jpg
              texas
              United States
              Member #152319
              February 11, 2014
              175 Posts
              Offline

              Prime example,if you don,t play you don,t win anyone can win even an idiot.

                ThatScaryChick's avatar - giphy11resized
                Idaho
                United States
                Member #56504
                November 21, 2007
                6698 Posts
                Online

                I Agree!....not too bright though. Who in their right mind purchases a helicopter & a plane on a $10 mil jackpot win?

                Yeah, he was spending money as if he had won a 300 million dollar jackpot instead of the 10 million dollar one

                "twitter - youtube - steam - tumblr"

                ThatScaryChick

                  Avatar
                  Left Coast
                  United States
                  Member #122294
                  January 28, 2012
                  125 Posts
                  Offline

                  I guess I should remove 'building a fish farm in Kyrzygstan' from my bucket list. Probably not a big priority.

                  Poor guy. Hope is finding grace and compassion.

                    savagegoose's avatar - ProfilePho
                    adelaide sa
                    Australia
                    Member #37135
                    April 11, 2006
                    3340 Posts
                    Offline

                    i hope i never have to lose that much to  discover being thankful for what i have

                    " Still swinging, still missing "
                    2014 = -1016; 2015= -1409; 2016  = -1171; 2017 = -1257 ; 2018 = - 1380 =  TOT =  - 6233

                    keno historic = -2291 ; 2015= -603; 2016= -424; 2017 =-427; 2018= -223   TOT = -3968

                    :

                      Avatar

                      United States
                      Member #149816
                      December 9, 2013
                      644 Posts
                      Offline

                      How come people who made bad decisions before winning the lottery make bigger blunders after then say the money was cursed?? How come they cannot take responsibliity and say hey I was someone who makes bad decisions anyway and the money just made me make even worse decisions

                        Avatar
                        Chasing $ Millions.
                        White Shores- California
                        United States
                        Member #136473
                        December 12, 2012
                        6337 Posts
                        Offline

                        "Who in their right mind purchases a helicopter & a plane on a $10 mil jackpot win?"

                         

                        Someone who is delusional about their wealth. This not only applies to lottery winners but to professional athletes as well.

                        Totally Drenick- The NBA for one  is littered with retired players who made gzimillions and are almost penniless. One such player was a teammate of Michael Jordan during their unprecedented reign in the 90's, l read where he also bought a plane* as if that is the status symbol of success. Read where he was crying in court over a decision that went his way, he recouped some of his money but the scars remain. The other nut played in the NFL, was on the 49's squad, won a ring and started bad mouthing teams he ended up with... Last l heard, he had fallen on hard times as well.Mr Walker who played for the Celtics owed the Las Vegas Casino a few hundred thousand in unpaid bills. It's crazy out there.

                         * Voice of Reason *   

                         

                        People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it- George Bernard Shaw.

                          Avatar
                          Seattle, Washington
                          United States
                          Member #121149
                          January 3, 2012
                          130 Posts
                          Offline

                          That's the thing about sudden wealth; it doesn't create character, it exposes your character.  The people who say "the lottery was a curse for me" like this guy are typically those who have impulse control problems and/or major issues; so, they spend their money like it's going out of style, thinking it will buy them happiness & fill in the holes in their lives.  It doesn't, and it also creates new problems they can't handle.

                            hearsetrax's avatar - alien on_computer.jpg

                            United States
                            Member #52343
                            May 21, 2007
                            3290 Posts
                            Online

                            That's the thing about sudden wealth; it doesn't create character, it exposes your character.  The people who say "the lottery was a curse for me" like this guy are typically those who have impulse control problems and/or major issues; so, they spend their money like it's going out of style, thinking it will buy them happiness & fill in the holes in their lives.  It doesn't, and it also creates new problems they can't handle.