Inside the downfall of a lottery winner who spent years sleeping on the streets

A ONE-time lottery winner blew his jackpot before ending up behind bars in a spectacular fall from grace.

Lee Ryan labelled the millions he won in 1995 as a “curse” because of the turmoil that followed in his life.


Lotto winner Lee Ryan won £6.5million in 1995Credit: Peter Jordan – The Sun
Lee Ryan and his wife splashed out after the win


Lee Ryan and his wife splashed out after the winCredit: Rex

The 62-year-old went through two divorces and spent two years sleeping on the streets after a dramatic fall from grace.

He took home a mammoth £6.5million in 1995 while he was already awaiting trial for handling stolen cars.

Ryan was jailed for 18 months the same year, and served nine, making him the first British lottery winner to be imprisoned.

What followed was years of unsustainably extravagant living that resulted in the funds being burned through.

Among Ryan’s big-budget purchases were a £1m country mansion and a fleet of luxury cars, including a Bentley, Ferrari, Porsche and BMW.

Each had a personalised number plate of either LEE 1, LEE 2, LEE 3, LEE 4.

The luxe home was kitted out with a swimming pool, tennis court, sauna, Jacuzzi and games room.

Ryan also splashed out on two Ducati superbikes, a £125,000 plane and a £235,000 Bell JetRanger helicopter.

Ryan’s wealth woes began in 1986 when he said he prayed to make him a millionaire while serving a prison sentence.

“My cellmate warned me to be careful what I wished for,” he said.

“The money was a curse”.

However, when the “Lotto Lag” wound up back in prison, Ryan was once again shown the downside of his winnings.

This included a bodyguard having to be hired following prisoners’ threats to his family.

One pal told the Daily Record at the time: “When he was first sent to prison, the other inmates were falling over themselves to befriend him because of his money.

“But some powerful people have now apparently turned against him because of his attitude.

“He has taken the threats seriously and is determined that Karen and the kids will be looked after until he comes out.”

Ryan and his wife split in 2003 before he moved to London.

He then moved to Kyrgyzstan to be with his 24-year-old student girlfriend, Jika.

Here, he lost another £2million in failed business ventures and property investments.

One money-making attempt to build a fish farm fell foul of local mafia.

By 2010, things had again soured for Ryan and the pair had divorced.

He later said he was back in Britain with nothing but a sleeping bag and spent the next two years sleeping on the streets.

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It’s now believed Ryan works as a cameraman and rents a humble two-bedroom flat in South London.

Despite making less than £10,000 a year when last interviewed, Ryan claimed he was happier without the millions.

Ryan moved to London and later Kyrgyzstan in the 2000s to be with his student girlfriend, Jika


Ryan moved to London and later Kyrgyzstan in the 2000s to be with his student girlfriend, JikaCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd
Now, aged in his 60s, Ryan once spent two years sleeping rough


Now, aged in his 60s, Ryan once spent two years sleeping roughCredit: Collect

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