Lottery winner ended up homeless after winning ‘cursed’ £6.5 million fortune

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Lee Ryan, the so-called “Lotto Lag” who became one of the first National Lottery jackpot winners in 1995 before being jailed for 18 months, has described his £6.5 million win as “a curse”.

Lee spent 10 years living large, buying a £1 million mansion, with 40 acres of grounds, a fleet of luxury cars, and even a helicopter.

But a series of failed business ventures saw his vast fortune frittered away and he ended up spending two years living on the street.

He’s by no means the only big jackpot winner who came to regret his good fortune.

In 2014, Lee bitterly said: "The money was cursed because I took the p**s out of God when I asked him to make me a multimillionaire. My cellmate warned me to be careful what I wished for.”

Lee won the National Lottery just 17 weeks after it was launched. At the time he was living in a council house in Leicester with girlfriend Karen Taylor.

But he was also awaiting trial handling stolen cars. Just six months after scooping the jackpot, he was jailed for 18 months.

Lee became the first British lottery millionaire to end up in prison, serving nine months of his sentence.

Once he was free, he married Karen and bought a house, filling its garage with an incredible collection of cars.

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Among Lee's extravagant purchases were a Bentley, a Ferrari, a Porsche and BMW – with of course the 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.

But then things began to unravel. He split from Karen and a series of disastrous business ventures made a serious dent in his bank account.

A housekeeper stole £40,000, an arsonist set fire to his Ferrari, and then Lee was forced to hire a former SAS operative as a security guard after a plot to kidnap one of his children came to light.

After Lee moved to London, he met 25-year-old student, Jyldyz Djangaracheva, known as Jika.

In a last throw of the dice, he moved with her to her homeland of Kyrgyzstan, where he attempted to invest the remainder of his dwindling winnings in property.

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But, he says, unscrupulous business partners and the chaos of the 2021 Kyrgyzstan revolution wiped him out.

He returned to London, and was homeless for two years, before managing to get a tiny flat that he shared with other people he’d met while he was living on the street.

These days Lee now works as a cameraman, still renting his flat in South London and occasionally giving rough sleepers a bed for the night.

But Lee says it could all be a lot worse. He told the Daily Mail he would probably have ended up in jail for life if his lottery numbers had not come up and confessed that he had once threatened Karen with a shotgun.

He says that at the time of the lottery in he had been planning an armed robbery – and would have shot someone if they “wanted to play silly b*****s”.

“There’s also no doubt that the lottery saved me as a person and saved the lives of my potential victims.,” Lee said. “The win saved me from that fate – and someone else from being my victim.”

  • National Lottery

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