For 10 years, Mickey Carroll worked to maintain his reputation as the UK’s “Lotto lout”, using his £9.7million (AU$18.4 million) jackpot prize to buy booze, drugs, sex and friends.
The money and the lifestyle are long gone.
But as Carroll finishes his $19-an-hour shift as a coalman in Moray, Scotland, he says: “It didn’t go wrong – it was the best 10 years of my life for a pound.”
Carroll is thankful for the times he had after buying that $1.90 ticket in 2002, when he was just 19 and working as a garbage collector in Norfolk.
Sitting in his hi-vis work gear in his rented flat, he says: “I don’t look back with any regrets, that is for sure”.
“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.”
When he looks back on those 10 years, it is a miracle he can remember any of it.
He says: “I’d wake up, do three lines of Charlie (cocaine) and drink half a bottle of vodka before I got out of bed.
“I was a full-blown alcoholic, doing two bottles of vodka a day.”
He recalls wild holidays in Puerto Banus on the Costa del Sol with his mates.
“We used to go to the local whorehouse because the girls there were better looking,” he said.
“We’d get our own drugs first and be high on cocaine by the time we rocked up at the brothels.
“I drank vodka and fresh orange, any lager, cider, or whiskey, as long as it was wet.
“I’d wake up in some strange places.”
The drinking and the brothels put an end to his short marriage to Sandra Aitken, who was seven months pregnant with their daughter when his lottery numbers came up.
Mickey, whose dad died when he was 10, was raised by his aunt and uncle after being physically abused by a family member.
He immediately gave £1 million each (AU$1.9million) to his mum, his aunt and uncle, his ex-wife’s mum and Sandra.
That left £5.7million (AU$10.8million) burning a hole in his pocket.
Sandra walked out in disgust shortly after they wed in 2003, accusing him of cheating on her with vice girls and surrounding himself with hangers-on.
Mickey, who boasts of bedding 4,000 women, does not dispute any of Sandra’s claims.
He says: “I spent the rest of the money on drugs and hookers, holidays and cars.”
‘King of the Chavs’
Hell-bent on becoming “King of the Chavs”, he appeared in court more than 30 times, often arriving in flash cars, swigging cans of beer.
His Norfolk mansion “The Grange” was used for wild parties, and the lawn became a track for demolition car derbies.
As a result, the luxury property soon fell into disrepair.
He says: “It lay derelict for about 10 years. My mate’s mum and dad lived in it until I kicked them out.
“I had another two houses, but it’s all gone – I sniffed ’em away.”
By 2005, his accountant warned he was down to his last million and, as the money dwindled, the “friends’” and hangers-on began to drift away.
Enemies were also circling and one morning he found his six Rottweilers dead, their throats slit.
Mickey, who was jailed for affray in 2006, says: “Gangsters sent me pictures of my family. They threatened to chop my daughter up, and my whole family.
“They were dangerous guys, a Liverpool firm, so I paid them £130,000 (AU$245,000).
“They backed off for a while, then there was a bit of an altercation and the boys in London sorted it out for me.”
Broke and homeless
By 2013, Mickey was broke, homeless and struggling to find work because of his reputation.
He says: “I’d turn up at interviews and they’d say, ‘We just wanted to see whether it was you or not’.”
He eventually followed Sandra to Scotland, moving to Moray, where he was so broke he lived in a squalid hotel.
He says: “It was a dive, but I had food and beer, all good.
“That was 2013. I was homeless for three months. Easy come, easy go.”
He worked at the Walkers biscuit factory in Aberlour before starting in an abbatoir.
He says: “I stayed there for five years until it shut down. I do miss the slaughterhouse. I loved it there.”
He later obtained his coal job and now works seven days a week.
He says: “I’m a skint lottery winner. It’s got me quite a few women so I don’t mind. I’m living in a rented flat.
“I’m happy. I don’t have to look over my shoulder any more, no one’s going to hit me over the back of the head and rob me.
“I reckon I’m lucky to be alive.
“If I still had the money I’d probably be six feet under.”
‘Root of all evil’
As the lottery’s 25th-anniversary approaches, figures show that in the first six months of this financial year Scots spent £3.9 billion on lottery tickets.
Mickey still plays but warns: “Money really is the root of all evil.
“I do the lottery now and again. If it’s a big one I’ll chuck a few quid on it, hope to win and piss everyone off.
“If I won it again, I’d buy a house and go abroad for a while.
“Hangers-on just wanted to be around me for the money. I was a soft touch.
“That would be my advice to other winners.
“Don’t trust anyone, not even your f***ing family.”