Sunday, 28 June 2009
A GOOD job, close friends and loving wife . . . Keith Gough felt he was the richest man in the world - then he RUINED it all by winning £9 million on the Lottery.
The life-changing win four years ago became a recipe for disaster when baker Keith ended up blowing nearly ALL his dough.
Like most of us would, he thought scooping the incredible jackpot meant happiness for him and his family for the rest of their lives.
Instead Keith, 58, told last night how the fortune lost him his wife of 25 years and his friends - leaving him with only the comfort of the booze bottle to turn to.
In an exclusive interview, alcoholic Keith revealed that he now spends his time alone, and rues the day he ever bought the winning ticket.
He said: "My life WAS brilliant. But the Lottery has ruined everything. What's the point of having money when it sends you to bed crying?"
"Now when I see someone going in to a newsagent I advise them NOT to buy a lottery ticket."
Down-on-his-luck Keith also revealed how the windfall made him a TARGET for conmen, one of whom fleeced him out of £700,000.
On top of that, he splashed out on posh homes, flash motors, racehorses . . . and a CALL GIRL.
Unshaven Keith, who sleeps in the spare room of his nephew's small semi, now spends most of his time indoors, only venturing outside for long, lonely walks in the Shropshire countryside. He admits it's a far cry from the simple life he once shared with devoted wife Louise, also 58.
Remembering how the pair were looking forward to retirement, Keith sighed: "If I could crawl back on broken glass to where I was, I would. The Lottery has ruined our lives.
"My life was brilliant and I was very much in love with Louise."
Keith earned his living in a bakery and Louise worked in a solicitors' office. They enjoyed a comfortable existence in a £160,000 semi in Bridgnorth, Shropshire.
"And I had plenty of time for my passion, fly fishing," he added.
Then in June 2005 the couple got all six numbers on a National Lottery lucky dip ticket. It wasn't long before the pair, who have a 14-year-old son, started spending - and their first big buy was a £500,000 house down the road.
Keith tried to maintain a normal life by keeping his job at the bakery but jealousy among his colleagues forced him to quit.
He recalled: "Without routine in my life I started to spend, spend, spend . . . and because I had the spare cash in my pocket."
After shelling out hundreds of thousands of pounds on RACEHORSES, he bought a BMW for £60,000. He bought a sprawling £1MILLION HOUSE in Cheshire, hired a GARDENER (£15,000) and CHAUFFEUR (£25,000).
He also spent £35,000 on an EXECUTIVE BOX at his beloved footie team Aston Villa.
His flash behaviour lost him friends but worst of all he started drifting from his wife, mainly because he had sceretly begun drinking alone.
The boozing reached dangerous levels. He would spend £45 a day - £315 a week - on bottles of gin, whisky and brandy. He said: "I was drinking every day and it was taking its toll on me and my marriage."
Nearly two years after their win, the couple split. Keith's boozing and spending spiralled even more out of control and he reached his lowest ebb.
He says: "In the end I was just bored. Before the win all I would drink was some wine with a meal - but now I was making myself ill. I ended up in the Priory in Birmingham."
By the time his divorce from Louise was finalised, Keith had wasted a large chunk of his fortune but walked away with £1.5 million. Louise still had several millions.
Instead of turning his life around, he plunged deeper into the mire.
While in rehab, he was visited by trickster James Prince, a bankrupt who deliberately targeted him for his money.
Vulnerable Keith, who was by now gambling heavily as well, was first of all persuaded by Prince to check himself out of the clinic and then to write big cheques for business ventures.
Prince - who also introduced Keith to a call girl he squandered eben more of his winnings on - conned a total of £700,000 from Keith. The trickster was later caught and sentenced to three years in jail for fraud.
From spending thousands of pounds a day, Keith's biggest expense now is the weekly grocery shop. But he eats alone after losing all his friends.
Keith explains: "I used to be popular but I've driven away all my friends. I don't trust anyone anymore.
"Money doesn't matter to me. I thought the lotto win was going to be the answer to my dreams. Now those dreams have turned to dust."
Source: News Of The World