One of Britain’s youngest lottery millionaires has been found dead in his home where he lived as a recluse.
Stuart Donnelly, who was 17 when he won £2 million in 1997, had become a virtual recluse as he struggled to cope with his new found wealth – and the sudden death of his father in 2000.
Police in Castle Douglas, south west Scotland, have launched an investigation but maintain there are no suspicions surrounding the death.
The 29-year-old former trainee pharmacist famously toasted his lottery win with Coca Cola because he was too young to drink champagne at the time.
Mr Donnelly spent his winnings on many things including houses, one of which was for his mother, charitable donations to a hospital his brother was being treated at and an executive seat at Celtic Football Club.
But he reportedly struggled to deal with the pressure of winning the lottery, particularly at such a young age.
In a 2003 interview, he said: “It was very hard to deal with all the attention I got. I even had people camping outside my house.
“It put a huge strain on me and my family.”
In November last year a national newspaper cited a survey of 30 of the biggest jackpot winners and said it branded the lottery “Britain’s biggest marriage wrecker” when it found that a third of respondents said their lives had been blighted by their new found fortune.
Families had fallen apart, marriages had ended and envy had destroyed friendships, the survey reportedly revealed.
Since the start of the National Lottery a number of jackpot winners have admitted misery because of their windfall.
Earlier this year Callie Rogers, 22, who won close to £1.9 million as a teenager in 2003, revealed that she is now facing bankruptcy and the money she won hasn’t made her happy.
She is currently holding down three jobs to support her two young children and she told a reporter that her life was now a “shambles”.
In 2005, after a suicide attempt, she said: “Until you win such a large amount of money at such a young age, you don’t realise the pressures that come with it.”
Michael Carroll, a former dustman, won £9.7million in 2002 but claimed it had made him miserable.
After he won the jackpot, his wife Sandra left him and took their baby daughter with her. Mr Carroll turned to cocaine, was jailed and was later served with two anti-social behaviour orders.
In 1999 Stephanie Powell won £7.2million, but her family life began to break down as a result.
Her partner Wayne Lawrence walked out on her, claiming the stress of her riches as his reason.
Research published in the summer warned that the lives of lottery winners could be cut short due to excessive alcohol-fuelled partying.
In 1999 Phil Kitchen, a jobless carpenter, won £1.8 million but two years later was found dead in his £500,000 home after drinking himself to death.