Michael Carroll (lottery winner)
A former binman and Ulster Defense Association supporter, Carroll won £9,736,131 (then US$15.4m) on the National Lottery in November 2002, aged 19. He enjoyed a celebrity status for a time in the British media as the self-proclaimed 'King of Chavs', a phrase that he emblazoned on his black Mercedes van. He spent his multi-million fortune on illegal drugs, gambling, and prostitutes over the next few years before declaring bankruptcy and returning to the £42 a week in jobseeker's allowance he had been claiming before. He has since made two suicide attempts.
Michael Carroll was born to a woman who worked in a canning factory and an RAF engineer. When Carroll was 18 months old, his father was jailed in a military prison for 11 years for stabbing a couple after getting into a fight at a dance. His parents separated when he was seven years old; his father died from a heart-attack when he was 10. He had several step-fathers, one of whom would lock him in his room for hours after hitting him. Carroll stated he was dyslexic, had ADHD, and was barely literate by the time he finished secondary school.
When Carroll was 13, he received a custodial sentence for shoplifting and was sent to the Hollesley Bay Prison in Suffolk where he reported that he learned to read and write. Before Carroll turned 18, he was in a young offenders institute for 2 months with a sentence for aggravated vehicle taking. He also committed other offences such as driving without a licence, assaulting a police officer and breaking into a village phone box. When Carroll won the Lottery at the age of 19, he was unemployed following a period of employment at a chocolate factory months before. At the time of his win, Carroll did not have a bank account, and tried opening one at Coutts as recommended by the lottery company. Coutts refused his application, which Carroll later ascribed to his criminal record.
Soon after winning his fortune, Carroll stated he would not be tempted into spending his money lavishly and only wanted to buy a 3-bedroom house near a lake, where he could go fishing. He also said that the many criminal offences of his past would not happen again and his anti-social behaviour was behind him. Weeks later Carroll was fined £1,320 after boarding trains without buying tickets (the offences had occurred prior to his lottery win).
As a fan of Rangers FC, Carroll invested up to a million pounds of his winnings via Rangers Financial Management, from whom the football club receive a share of profits on the financial services they sell.
As a multi-millionaire, the self-proclaimed "king of chavs", immediately bought four houses, a holiday villa in Spain, two convertible BMWs along with two Mercedes-Benz cars and several quad bikes. Sources close to him state that Carroll, who wore a large amount of gold jewellery, had spent "untold thousands" on substance abuse.
In 2005, Carroll participated in a celebrity boxing match in which he was seemed to have been defeated by Mark Smith, formerly a star of TV show Gladiators under the name Rhino, but the fight was officially declared a draw by the judges. Also in 2006, he was the subject of the documentary Michael Carroll: King of Chavs.
In June 2005, Carroll was given an ASBO by the court after finding that while drunk he had been catapulting steel balls from his Mercedes van, which resulted in breaking 32 car and shop windows, in Downham Market, where he was living. He was sentenced with 240 hours of community service and a warning he could face jail time if he did not adhere to the ASBO.
In February 2006, he was jailed for nine months for affray. It was noted in court while being sentenced, that since 1997, Carroll had 42 previous offences on record. After being released from prison at the end of June 2006, Carroll took out a loan in order to keep his houses and maintain his "party lifestyle". In August 2006, Carroll denied rumours that he had no money left.
While living at his mansion, five of his Rottweilers were found dead with their throats cut. He paid the £130,000 to blackmailers who threatened his family. He said the men came with shotguns and said "You aren't so big now are you, Mr. Carroll?". He took off in his car and he never went back to Swaffham, he claimed. He ended up returning to Downham Market.
Carroll had reportedly spent almost his entire fortune within 18 months on extravagant houses, cars for demolition derby races in his back garden, and gold jewellery. Later convicted of cocaine possession, it was claimed he had only £500,000 left.
However as of February 2010, he revealed that he was back on Jobseeker's Allowance, having spent all of his money on crack cocaine, gambling, his family and friends, electronic goods, cars, prostitutes and gold.
On 18 February 2010, he was declared bankrupt, with his heavily damaged mansion being put up for sale. The mansion in Swaffham, Norfolk, which he bought for £340,000 and spent an additional £400,000 on it by putting in a swimming pool and jacuzzi, was sold for only £142,000 because it was so severely damaged.
In May 2010 he applied for his old job as a binman, but said he has no regrets about the way in which he spent his winnings. However, in early August 2011, he tried to commit suicide twice, once by hanging, when he was saved by a friend, and also by an attempt to cut his throat with a craft knife. The emergency ambulance went to him, treated him for cuts and he was taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn but was discharged after refusing treatment.
His biography written by Sean Boru, entitled Careful What You Wish For (ISBN 1-844-54313-7), was published by John Blake Publishing in October 2006. In 2010, he appeared as a fictionalised version of himself in the film Killer Bitch.
One smart investment Carroll made with advice was to set up a £3.9 million investment bond, which generated monthly income. He was advised to use this account only if funds from a regular account were gone. Once withdrawals are made from the bond, however, huge penalty fees were deducted, besides the amount of the withdrawal. Carroll, who was very generous to family and friends, gave his mother, aunt and a sister £1 million each, and claimed by September 2003, he had to start living off the bond.
The BBC reported that he is almost broke, having spent his fortune on new homes, drugs, parties, jewellery and cars.
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