Tuesday, 21 Sep 2021

Tragic EuroMillions winner ‘chased’ family away weeks after scooping £27m

A EuroMillions winner who died last week "chased" family members out of her life despite gifting them £1million each.

Margaret Loughrey, later known as Maggie Millions, won just under £27million in November 2013 aged 48. Before that, she was living on £71 a week and had been walking back from the job centre when she spontaneously bought the lucky ticket.

She was found dead alone at her home in Strabane, Northern Ireland, on Thursday, September 2, with police saying her death is not being treated as suspicious.

When she managed to compose herself after the win nearly eight years ago, the first person she rang was her brother Paul, reports the Mirror.

Paul, 52, recalled: “I was the first to be told. We were close right up until the money. But from that day I knew.

“I told the rest of the family this is not going to be good for Margaret.

Maggie's life had been plagued with mental health issues since her teens when her bricklayer dad tragically died after falling off a roof.

Within weeks of her £26,863,588 windfall, she had “chased” her four brothers and sister from her life.

Paul said: “I was the first to be told to go. She just didn’t want to know us anymore.”

And yet even as she cut ties with them, Margaret gave her siblings and some close friends £1million each.

Paul said: “She didn’t want us in her life but still she gave us the money.

“It doesn’t make sense, does it? But she made sure we were all OK.”

Maggie's problems were well documented and within months of her win she was sectioned. In 2015, she was ordered to do 150 hours of community service after being convicted of assaulting a taxi driver.

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In 2019, she said her lotto win had “sent her to hell and back”, adding: “Money has brought me nothing but grief. It has destroyed my life.”

What is less known is Maggie used her money to quietly give to her community.

One local said she paid for people to have gastric bands fitted, to travel to Turkey to have their teeth done, and for expensive surgery for ill children.

Grainne Dunne, vice-principal at Knockavoe School in Strabane, a special needs facility, said: “She came to see us a couple of years ago and soon after we received a very substantial donation. She was a modest woman.”

Councillor Paul Gallagher added she should be remembered for the good things she has left behind.

He said: “Covid has put a mighty strain on charities. She had her troubles but Margaret has helped with the survival of these groups and those benefits will be felt for a long, long time to come.”

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Paul has said that all his sister's many personal assets will go to charity.

Maggie owned a mansion which she began renovating in 2019, but instead lived next door with her two terrier dogs in a humble cottage.

Maggie's brother is now calling for change following the tragic decline of her life after the big win.

He said: “It’s time the Government look at the size of jackpots. They need to be capped. A person working in a factory or a call centre like I was can’t deal with money like that.”

The operator of the National Lottery said: “Camelot takes its duty of care to winners very seriously and all major winners are offered support and advice for as long as they wish.”

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