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

After the Big WinAfter the Big Win: UK lottery winner says he's happier now that the money's gone
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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 2 years ago by Teddi.
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California
United States
Member #141204
April 7, 2013
280 Posts
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Posted: November 14, 2014, 8:38 am - IP Logged

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

    hearsetrax's avatar - 0118

    United States
    Member #52345
    May 21, 2007
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    Posted: November 14, 2014, 9:22 am - IP Logged

    hes just the other thug

      sully16's avatar - sharan
      Ringleader
      Michigan
      United States
      Member #81740
      October 28, 2009
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      Posted: November 14, 2014, 9:26 am - IP Logged

      Yikes, his drama is far from over.

      America First ! US Flag

        cbr$'s avatar - maren
        Cordova,Al.
        United States
        Member #104482
        January 15, 2011
        6445 Posts
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        Posted: November 14, 2014, 10:25 am - IP Logged

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

          noise-gate's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcR91HDs4UJhjxO7cmeMQWZ5lB_FOcMLOGicau4V74R45tDgPWrr
          Chasing the Dream.
          Utopia- California
          United States
          Member #136477
          December 12, 2012
          4253 Posts
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          Posted: November 14, 2014, 11:40 am - IP Logged

          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?

          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 #152799
            February 25, 2014
            1095 Posts
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            Posted: November 14, 2014, 12:48 pm - IP Logged

            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 #152324
              February 11, 2014
              174 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: November 14, 2014, 12:52 pm - IP Logged

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

                ThatScaryChick's avatar - x1MqPuM
                Idaho
                United States
                Member #56506
                November 21, 2007
                6537 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: November 14, 2014, 12:53 pm - IP Logged

                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

                "No one remembers the person who almost climbed the mountain, only the person who eventually gets to the top."

                  Avatar
                  Left Coast
                  United States
                  Member #122298
                  January 28, 2012
                  125 Posts
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                  Posted: November 14, 2014, 1:12 pm - IP Logged

                  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 #37136
                    April 11, 2006
                    3324 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: November 14, 2014, 1:27 pm - IP Logged

                    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 = ?  TOT =  -3596: JAN= -

                    keno historic = -2291 ; 2015= -603; 2016= -424; 2017 = ? TOT = - 3318: JAN= -39

                      Avatar

                      United States
                      Member #149820
                      December 9, 2013
                      644 Posts
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                      Posted: November 14, 2014, 2:02 pm - IP Logged

                      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

                        noise-gate's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcR91HDs4UJhjxO7cmeMQWZ5lB_FOcMLOGicau4V74R45tDgPWrr
                        Chasing the Dream.
                        Utopia- California
                        United States
                        Member #136477
                        December 12, 2012
                        4253 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: November 14, 2014, 2:48 pm - IP Logged

                        "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.

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

                          Avatar
                          Seattle, Washington
                          United States
                          Member #121153
                          January 3, 2012
                          123 Posts
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                          Posted: November 14, 2014, 3:45 pm - IP Logged

                          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 - 0118

                            United States
                            Member #52345
                            May 21, 2007
                            2712 Posts
                            Offline
                            Posted: November 14, 2014, 3:56 pm - IP Logged

                            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.