Lottery winner who blew £1.8m and lost marriage ‘still had a great time’

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    A lottery winner who bagged £1.8million 18 years ago has hit out at those who paint her as “tragic” after managing to lose everything.

    Lara Griffith won the top price when she was aged 35.

    She spent 10 days in Dubai having flown out there with now-ex husband Roger days after winning the prize and bought a salon for £150,000, 30 second-hand cars and a whopping 15 designer handbags.

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    The woman from Boston Spa, West Yorkshire, also got a mortgage on a house instead of buying it . . . and now has nothing left.

    The 53-year-old said: “It’s become an overriding narrative that the lotto ruined my life.

    “People kept saying I was stupid, pumped full of plastic surgery and needed my kids taken away.

    “But the fact is, I spent it wisely – and I had a great time.”

    She says she found the experience “shocking” and she couldn’t differentiate between “good shock and bad shock”.

    Lara left her £40,000-a-year job in teaching the following year despite not wanting to, fearing the teachers and students would look at her differently.

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    She worked full-time at the salon she and Roger bought together instead, but claims she didn't pay herself a salary.

    Despite this, she felt “bored” – and her new job left her feeling “unstimulated” as her passion was in teaching.

    Lara claims Roger also threw “a lot of money” into his fledgling music career, dropping thousands to fund a record with his old uni band. He confirmed he spent £25,000.

    But, by 2013, the money had run out, and Roger and Lara split.

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    Lara said: “Everyone always asks you what it’s like to win the lottery, but it’s not a tangible feeling – imagine being told you suddenly have two million in the bank.

    “We went on holiday to Dubai and it was lovely, in the first instance.

    “We didn’t fritter money away, though – we flew economy class, the cars were second-hand and we got mortgages on all the houses.”

    The pair had two children together – Kitty, now 16 and Ruby, now 19, and the mum and her two daughters now live with Lara’s mum Norma, 86, in a four-bedroom house.

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    Lara says she doesn’t want her daughters to inherit a “legacy” involving her spending £1.8million in lotto winnings.

    She added: “I fully hold my hands up and accept my mistakes.

    “I’ve spent the last 10 years making sure my children have a nice life regardless of that.

    “But the lottery did not ruin my life.”

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    • National Lottery
    • Money
    • Family

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