When a lottery win becomes a curse! Winners whose lives went downhill after the prize – including Thomas Markle who scooped $750,000 but ended up filing for bankruptcy
- There are some lottery winners who it’s all gone tragically wrong for after the win
- Including Thomas Markle, who scooped $750,000 but made bad investments
- Callie Rogers, from Cumbria, was Britain’s youngest ever lottery winner
- She scooped £1.8million in 2003 but splashed it all on drug-fuelled parties
While many people dream of winning the lottery, it is not always the path to a happy life – with some winners feeling their life actually suffered following the prize.
Meghan Markle’s father Thomas scooped $750,000 in 1990 – but bad investments meant he had to file for bankruptcy in 2016.
Meanwhile Michael Carroll, from Norfolk, was known as the Lotto Lout after he blew his £10million fortune on flash cars and partying before asking for his old job back as a bin man.
Here FEMAIL looks at those who’ve experienced the lottery curse…
There are a few Lotto winners who it’s all gone tragically wrong for after they won hundreds of thousands or sometimes millions but end up penniless including Thomas Markle, the Duchess of Sussex father, who scooped $750,000 but made bad investments meant he had to file for bankruptcy in 2016
FILED FOR BANKRUPTCY
Thomas Markle won $750,000 (£560,000) on the California state lottery in 1990 when Meghan Markle was just nine.
The father of the now Duchess of Sussex used her birth date for one of the numbers in the winning ticket.
Markle sent a friend to pick up his lottery winnings from Chicago, according to The Times.
Author Andrew Morton, claimed in his book Meghan: A Hollywood Princess that the win paid for Meghan’s private school fees, setting her on a path to acting success and ultimately to meeting Prince Harry – who she married in May 2018.
The Hollywood lighting technician won $750,000 on the California state lottery in 1990 when Meghan Markle was just nine (pictured with her mother, Doria Ragland)
After sending Meghan to private school Thomas also used his winning to help his son Thomas Jnr to set up a flower shop and he bought daughter Samantha Markle a car.
In the build-up to the royal wedding, her brother Thomas Jnr told The Mail on Sunday: ‘If Meg marries Harry she’ll have won the lottery of life but dad winning the lottery helped us all.
‘That money allowed Meg to go to the best schools and get the best training. Meg is someone who has always had laser focus.
‘She knows what she wants and she doesn’t stop until she gets it.
‘She was always the family’s princess but now she’s going to be a real princess and I couldn’t be more proud.’
Tom also has said that his dad lost a huge chunk of the money after investing in a jewellery business that failed and Thomas ended up filed for bankruptcy in 2016.
MARRIAGE FELL APART AFTER AFFAIR
Gareth and Catherine Bull, from Nottinghamshire, landed a staggering £40.6 million EuroMillions jackpot in 2012 – but their relationship came to an end after it emerged Gareth had embarked on a nine-month affair with a woman who runs a bar in Tenerife
It had previously been revealed that Catherine (right) was made aware of the relationship after spotting the pair during TV coverage of an Anthony Joshua fight in 2017
Gareth and Catherine Bull, from Nottinghamshire, landed a staggering £40.6 million EuroMillions jackpot in 2012.
But Catherine, 40, was pictured in 2017 without her wedding ring which led to rumours of a divorce.
It turns out Gareth had embarked on a nine-month relationship with a new woman Donna Desporte on a lads’ holiday in Tenerife, where she runs a bar, while he was still married to Catherine.
It had previously been revealed that Catherine was made aware of the relationship after spotting the pair during TV coverage of an Anthony Joshua fight in 2017.
The couple subsequently divorced in October that year.
Mother-of-four Donna, from Bournemouth, wrote a book about her time with ex-bricklayer Gareth called Google Me, No Lies.
In 2017, Donna told the Sunday Mirror of her nine-month romance with the lottery winner, revealing how he had splashed out on expensive trips and VIP events, including a night at the BAFTAs.
Mother-of-four Donna Desporte (pictured) wrote a book about her time with ex-bricklayer Gareth called Google Me, No Lies
She said he had wanted to keep their relationship a secret to avoid giving his wife ammunition if they were to split.
The book, whose title was a reference to the alleged conversation that played out between them when they first met, had been the subject of previous court hearings.
Last year Gareth was granted an extended civil restraint order banning Donna from bringing court actions against him following a High Court battle.
The permanent injunction restrains publication of 36 passages from the book and four photographs taken by Gareth ‘privately during their relationship’.
Donna argued that she had a right to give her side of the story and refute allegations she was a ‘whore and a gold digger’, but the judge ruled there was no legal public interest in her writing about their sexual relationship.
NEARLY DIED AFTER SPENDING THOUSANDS ON PLASTIC SURGERIES
Jane Park, from Edinburgh, was just 17 when she won £1 million after getting lucky with her first-ever Euromillions ticket in 2013
Jane Park, from Edinburgh, was just 17 when she won £1 million after getting lucky with her first-ever Euromillions ticket in 2013.
The jackpot winner paid for a boob job, Brazilian bum lift and splashed out on a string of luxury holidays and fashion accessories.
The beauty has repeatedly stated winning the Euromillions prize ruined her life and even threatened to sue lottery operators Camelot for negligence, claiming someone her age shouldn’t have been allowed to win.
She has confessed that it was only the advice of family members which stopped her going bust after she went on a spending spree.
In 2018 Jane said she ‘nearly died’ after undergoing the ‘bum lift’ procedure following the death of Leah Cambridge during a similar surgery in Turkey.
She suffered three heart attacks at the Elite Aftercare clinic in Ismir, Turkey, where several reality stars have also undergone the surgery.
Speaking on This Morning, Jane revealed that she underwent a bum lift in June 2017, but was left ‘swollen from head to toe’ and in ‘constant pain’.
Jane previously revealed she underwent the controversial Brazilian bum lift in 2017 after 29-year-old Leah Cambridge died during the procedure in Turkey
‘It was horrible,’ she said. ‘I couldn’t even open my eyes. It makes me sick thinking about it.
‘When I woke up I was very cold and sore and I was told ‘you’ll come round a bit’ and when I did I got up to go to the toilet and I was truly swollen from head to toe.
‘I thought I was going to die. I didn’t know what was wrong with me and they said I’d had a reaction to the local anaesthetic.
‘The aftercare wasn’t good at all. I was crying and in pain. I was just told ‘you’ve paid for having this done’.’
Meanwhile she warned of the dangers of winning huge amounts of cash on the lottery and getting in over her head.
Speaking on This Morning, Jane revealed that she underwent a bum lift but was left ‘swollen from head to toe’ and in ‘constant pain’
She said: ‘It is very easy to spend the money and once you become aware that it is yours and how much you have got it becomes even easier.
‘You think ‘Oh well I’ve got the money so I can spend it’. It just becomes easier to buy more stuff that you don’t necessarily need.
‘My family said to me ‘You have spent a bit of it now, you need to think about investing it’. So then I got some property and put some away in the bank.
‘At some point I had to take their advice or it could have went a completely different way.
‘It was very overwhelming. I thought I was this massive celebrity. I thought I was Simon Cowell famous with my £1 million when I wasn’t.’
In 2019, she revealed she was making money by selling racy topless pictures of herself on subscription site Only Fans.
SPLASHED THE CASH OH DRUG-FUELLED PARTIES
Callie Rogers, from Cumbria, scooped £1.8million in 2003. After splashing it on drug-fuelled parties, she said it nearly broke her but thankfully she’s ‘now stronger’
Callie Rogers, from Cumbria, was Britain’s youngest ever lottery winner when she scooped £1.8million in 2003.
She won the jackpot when she was just 16 earning £3.60 an hour as a checkout girl.
At the time, she was living with foster parents in Cockermouth, Cumbria and working at the Co-op.
Within weeks she met Nicky Lawson, father of her eldest two children, and moved into a £180,000 bungalow.
At the time of her jackpot, she was living with foster parents in Cockermouth, Cumbria and working at the Co-op (pictured in 2003)
But five years later, her relationship fell apart, leading to Rogers attempting suicide.
At a particular low point, her children were taken away from her, and she splashed £17,000 on a boob job to help with her confidence.
She lavished herself with three breast enhancement surgeries, drug-fuelled parties and £300,000 worth of designer clothes.
Callie also gave around half a million pounds to friends and family – and was brutally assaulted after gaining notoriety in her local area.
She said she was targeted by people who pretended to be her friends only to siphon her money away.
In 2018, she revealed how she thought she was going to die after being assaulted by two women on a night out.
It was reported that the lottery winner was claiming Universal Credit despite her 2003 win (pictured on This Morning in 2018)
She was knocked unconscious, had her teeth smashed, ribs broken and suffered permanent damage to her sight. Marie Hinde, 38, and Jade Quayle, 27, were later jailed.
Last year she was also recently hit with a driving ban after her 4×4 crashed into a hedge whilst she was high on cocaine, The Sun reported.
It was reported that the lottery winner was claiming Universal Credit despite her win.
The revelation came in court while the judge handed her a 22-month driving ban after she crashed her 4×4 while high on cocaine.
Rogers had to be pepper sprayed when police detained her after she veered off a country lane while being chased by police in Cumbria.
She has previously told how her lottery win sent her on a downward trajectory and has called for more protections for young winners.
Rogers told Closer magazine in 2013: ‘It was too much money for someone so young.
‘Even if you say your life won’t change, it does – and often not for the better. It nearly broke me, but thankfully, I’m now stronger.’
BLEW £10 MILLION FORTUNE BEFORE RETURNING TO JOB AS BIN-MAN
Michael Carroll, from Norfolk, who was known as the Lotto Lout after he blew his £10million fortune on flash cars and partying before asking for his old job back as a bin man (pictured in 2002)
His marriage to Sandra Aitken fell apart after she accused him of sleeping with prositutes – but the two remarried years later
Part-time bin man Michael Carroll, 36, from Norfolk, scooped £9,736,131 on the National Lottery in November 2002 when he was just 19.
Michael, who was dubbed the Lotto Lout and the King of Chavs, was wearing an electronic tag when he bought his winning ticket.
The lottery winner admitted to becoming a ‘full-blown alcoholic’, and said he would go on extravagant holidays to the Costa del Sol.
He did give £4 million to friends and family, including his aunt and uncle who raised him following his father’s death when he was only 10 years old.
The rest of the money, however, funded an extreme lifestyle, including a mansion in Swaffham, Norfolk, two other homes, and racing cars.
The decadent and mischievous antics brought a swift end to his marriage to wife Sandra Aitken after she accused him of sleeping with vice girls. She had been seven months pregnant with their daughter before he won the lottery.
Michael has made no secret of his womanising, and claims to have bedded some 4,000 women.
Mickey continued to live in extravagance, and appeared in court over 30 times, mostly arriving in sports cars and drinking booze.
Michael, who was dubbed the Lotto Lout and the King of Chavs, was wearing an electronic tag when he bought his winning ticket
He was handed an ASBO for terrorising his neighbours and was jailed for five months in 2004 after failing to comply with a drug treatment order imposed as part of a sentence for cocaine possession.
His accountant warned him in 2005 that he was down to his last million, and in February 2006 he was jailed for nine months for affray.
By February 2013, he was declared bankrupt and found himself back on Jobseeker’s Allowance.
At his lowest point he moved into a hotel for homeless people for three months while he struggled to find work due to his reputation.
He then worked at the Walkers biscuit factory in Aberlour, before getting a licence to work in an abattoir.
In 2019, it was revealed Carroll had moved to Scotland and was working seven days a week as a coal miner.
‘I don’t look back with any regrets that’s for sure. It was ten years of fun for a pound, you can’t go wrong with that,’ Mickey told The Mirror.
‘I wouldn’t want to turn the clock back. But I live a good, free lifestyle now and I’m happier because I’ve got my life back.’
Carroll occasional plays the lottery and said if he won again, ‘he’d be down the yard at six every morning just to keep out of trouble’.
In 2021 it was revealed he had remarried his ex-wife, and the two are now reportedly living a quiet life in Belfast.
A source told the Daily Record: ‘Mickey’s calmed down a lot and has been living quite a nice wee life and working hard.
‘Him and Sandra buried the hatchet and got back together and it has all worked out well for them.
‘It happened very quickly in the last few months but they fell right back in love and are really happy together now. What’s in the past has been forgotten about.’
LOST HIS WINNINGS AFTER BAD INVESTMENTS
John McGuinness, from Scotland, was working as a hospital porter when he won £10million back in 1997 but lost it all in bad investments and a lavish lifestyle
John McGuinness, from Scotland, was working as a hospital porter when he won £10million back in 1997.
At he time he was earning just £150 a week and was living with his parents in their council house.
He lavished more than £ 3million on close members of his family and gave £750,000 to his ex-wife Hazel.
He swopped his battered old Vauxhall Astra for a £140,000 Ferrari Modena Spyder. Other cars followed and at one point he had six in the drive, including a Bentley, Mercedes, Jaguars and BMWs.
He snapped up a £500,000 seafront apartment in Majorca, went on Caribbean cruises, fivestar ski trips and holidays around the world.
He bought a luxury £1.3million mansion in Bothwell, which has an incredible view overlooking the River Clyde.
He moved his wife, Sandra, and his family into the Lanarkshire manor after his big win.
In 2004, John moved from one luxury mansion to another just 20ft away – so he could have room for a snooker table in a coveted games room.
But it was his lifelong passion for Livingston Football Club that eventually ruined him as John used his riches as a guarantee against the club’s loans, he was liable for all the debt.
He swopped his battered old Vauxhall Astra for a £140,000 Ferrari Modena Spyder. Other cars followed and at one point he had six in the drive, including a Bentley, Mercedes, Jaguars and BMWs
John ploughed £4million into the club, which then went into administration.
He stayed silent since then but decided to speak out in 2012 after the failed former soccer boss Dominic Keane was cleared of a £2million bank fraud.
John lost millions in the doomed venture to buy Livingston with ex-Celtic director Keane.
Keane was accused in court of tricking the lotto millionaire into signing an extension to a £2million loan, but he walked free after a jury took 40 minutes to find him not guilty.
Speaking to the Daily Record John said: ‘I know in the eyes of the law nobody is to blame for me losing my money…but I know who I blame.
‘I gave my money to Dominic Keane and now it’s all gone and I’ve got nothing. Someone must have taken it.’
‘If I had never met him, I’d still be sitting with about s5million in the bank and I would have been quite happy enjoying a brilliant life.’
MYSTERIOUSLY DISAPPEARED AND WAS LATER FOUND DEAD
Abraham Shakespeare, from Florida, hit the jackpot after winning £30 million but had his luck run out when he mysteriously disappeared and was later found deceased (pictured in 2006)
In 2006, Florida man Abraham Shakespeare, 42, won £14 million ($17million) after buying two lottery tickets at a local convenience store.
He shared his generosity by purchasing homes for his cousins and paying off a business loan worth £72,000 ($87,000) for a friend.
However less than two years after striking it rich, Abraham was not only down to his last £1.2 million ($2 million) but he also mysteriously disappeared.
Police later discovered that he was murdered by DeeDee Moore, a woman who had targeted him for the money-he had been shot twice with a .38-caliber pistol.
Prosecutors said the 49-year-old Moore befriended Shakespeare, who was illiterate, in late 2008, claiming she was writing a book about how people were taking advantage of him.
They claim Moore later became his financial adviser, eventually controlling every asset he had left after his death, including an expensive home, the debt owed to him and a $1.5million annuity.
‘She got every bit of his money,’ said Assistant State Attorney Jay Pruner in closing arguments. ‘He found out about it and threatened to kill her. She killed him first.’
Moore also insisted that she had known Shakespeare for only four months prior to his death, which would not have given her enough time to plot his murder.
DeeDee had managed to take almost £1.2 million ($2million) from Shakespeare by the time she orchestrated his killing.
She and her boyfriend buried him beneath a concrete slab in a wooded area afterwards.
Moore led police to the burial site after a sting operation, during which an undercover officer recorded her admitting that she knew the location of Shakespeare’s body.
He was missing for several months before she eventually admitted where his body was, she is now doing a life sentence for his murder in prison.
Moore has maintained her innocence and has repeatedly appealed her conviction, which was upheld twice – in 2015 and 2019.
Dorice Donegan ‘Dee Dee’ Moore, who is in prison for the murder of lottery winner Abraham Shakespeare (pictured in prison 2022)
Moore wrote in a letter to the court in 2019 that she regretted not being truthful during her trial, but she continued to maintain that she did not shoot Shakespeare. ‘I really did not kill him,’ she wrote.
This year it emerged that Moore is an unlikely supporter of a new bill that would keep the names of jackpot winners a secret for 90 days in the US.
In a telephone interview from behind bars, Dee Dee argued that publicly identifying winners and sharing details about their windfall ‘puts a target on them.’
Florida lawmakers say giving winners three months should afford them sufficient time to hire security, tell their loved ones about the win, and seek investment advice in peace.
In her latest interview from Lowell Correctional Institution, Moore said keeping lottery winners’ names secret even for 90 days wasn’t long enough. She said details about whether a winner chose a lump-sum payout or payments over time also should not be disclosed.
‘I don’t feel that’s enough time,’ she said. ‘You’ve got to understand, this person has to change their whole life around.’
She said a lottery winner would need at least six months of privacy.
‘Ninety days is nothing, you see how quick time flies,’ said Moore, who has been in a state prison for nearly 3,400 days.
ROBBED A DOZEN TIMES AND FAMILY MEMBERS DIED
Jack Whittaker won a whopping £261 million ($315million) in 2002 which was then the largest lottery jackpot won by a single ticket in the United States however in 2005, Whittaker’s granddaughter Brandi, (left) who he planned to leave his money to, was found dead
The West Virginia businessman won a whopping £261 million ($315million) in 2002, which was then the largest lottery jackpot won by a single ticket in the United States.
He chose to receive more than $113million in cash, but soon used it up and said he had been robbed a dozen times, CNN reported.
Less than a year after his win, £451, 000 ($545,000) of cash was taken from his car, which he parked at a strip club.
Five months later, $200,000 was taken from the same car in the same parking lot.
Then again in 2018, $100,000 was heisted out of his vehicle while it was parked in front of his house.
According to the Washington Post, while boozing it up at a local bar, he loudly offered one female bartender money for sex. He later proffered $10,000 to another bartender if she would pose for him in her underwear.
Jack and his wife Jewell, right, and their granddaughter Brandi Bragg, 15, left, posed for a photograph after being interviewed on NBC’s Today Show in New York in 2002
In 2004, a friend of Whittaker’s granddaughter Brandi, was found lifeless from a drug overdose in Whittaker’s house.
In 2005, Brandi, who he planned to leave his money to, was found dead, wrapped in plastic with drugs in her system but the official cause of her death is not known.
Two years later, her mother – Whittaker’s daughter Ginger – died of a drug overdose.
By the time of her death, he said his bank accounts were empty. He blamed his relatives deaths’ on the winning ticket, assuming that they bought the drugs which killed them with his money.
‘My granddaughter is dead because of the money. She was the shining star of my life, and she was what it was all about for me.
‘You know, my wife said she wished that she had torn the ticket up. Well, I wish that we tore the ticket up too, ‘he told ABC’s 20/20.
In 2016, his Bland County, Virginia, house burnt down in a fire which had started in the kitchen.
The fire was reported at 7am on Friday, and firefighters from five different departments arrived.
The house sustained extensive damage and was eventually declared a total loss.
Whittaker’s wife was inside the home at the time, but she emerged safely. Jack Whittaker died of natural causes on June 27 2020 at the age of 72.
MURDERED BY HIS SISTER-IN-LAW
Jeffrey Dampier, from Illinois, won $20million after playing the lottery. He lived happily for years to come, spending the money on his family, but was murdered in 2005 by his sister-in-law and her husband
Jeffrey Dampier, from Illinois, worked as a security guard before he won $20million after playing the lottery in 1996.
He lived happily for years to come, spending the money on his family, and when he and his first wife separated, they decided to split what remained of the winnings in half.
Dampier started seeing another woman, Crystal Jackson and after the two got married they moved to Tampa Bay, Florida, where they opened a gourmet popcorn store.
While living in Tampa, he embarked on an affair with his wife’s sister Victoria Jackson.
Victoria and her husband Nathaniel lured him the apartment which he paid for them to live in on July 26, 2005, and shot him in the back of the head.
Victoria would later narrate that she visited Nathaniel at his apartment, who asked her to call Dampier and tell him to come to the apartment.
Victoria told Dampier she was having car problems, and when he showed up to help, Nathaniel pulled out a shotgun and forced him into a van.
The pair demanded money from him but he refused and Nathaniel gave the gun to Victoria and demanded that she shoot Dampier.
‘Shoot him, or I shoot you,’ he said, according to the police report.
Victoria shot Dampier, killing him and then they drove the van to a deserted road and abandoned it with Dampier’s body inside.
The police soon discovered the body, and Nathaniel and Victoria were arrested some days later.
The two were charged with first-degree murder, aggravated assault, armed carjacking and two counts of armed kidnapping.
The defense added that Nathaniel had forced Victoria into committing the crime but the prosecution argued that Victoria was clearly aware of what would happen when she called Dampier to come over.
Victoria and Nathaniel were eventually sentenced to life in prison.
It’s not clear why they thought they would inherit his money. His widow Crystal said in 2015 that she would never ‘go near’ the lottery, telling WFLA: ‘It’s a curse.’