A lottery winner who claimed her £27million jackpot ruined her life has been found dead by police at her £125,000 home.
Margaret Loughrey, 56, scooped the EuroMillions top prize eight years ago but famously said it had ‘destroyed her’.
She bought the ticket that landed the windfall when she was walking back from the Job Centre living on benefits of just £58-a-week.
Ms Laughrey was dubbed ‘Maggie Millions’ and bought a mill with her winnings but gave at least half of her fortune away to good causes.
She was sectioned four months after her big win and later described life as a multi-millionaire as ‘If there is a hell, I have been in it. It has been that bad’.
Ms Loughrey later claimed people had “stolen millions” from her adding ‘I regret winning the lottery, of course I do. I was a happy person before. I am a human being and all it has done is destroy my life.’
Her sudden death is not being treated as suspicious and is a tragic end to years of troubles.
She is not thought to have ever married but has four brothers and a sister.
When she won the lottery she had been at the Job Centre living on benefits of just £58-a-week
Ms Loughrey – known affectionately as ‘Maggie Millions – was found dead by police at home
The lottery winner had stayed living in her £125,000 bungalow, despite her fortune
Officers from the Police Service of Northern Ireland rushed to her home in Strabane this morning after reports she had died suddenly.
The ambulance were also called but nothing could be done and she was pronounced deceased at the scene.
Ms Loughrey landed the huge win after matching five numbers and two lucky stars in the draw in November 2013, scooping £26,863,588.
Her neighbour and local councillor Paul Gallagher told reporters the town was in shock at the unexpected tragedy.
He said: ‘Margaret was well known and did a lot of good, charitable work around the town.
‘People are shocked today.’
At the time Ms Loughrey vowed that her fortune would be spread around the community
Ms Loughrey landed the huge win after matching five numbers and two lucky stars
Winning ticket: Margaret Loughrey, 48, bought the lucky dip ticket from this SuperValu grocery store near her home in Strabane
A PSNI spokesman said: ‘Police received a report of the sudden death of a woman at the Ballycolman Lane area of Strabane on Thursday September 2.
‘A post-mortem is due to take place but at this stage, the death is not being treated as suspicious.’
The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service confirmed they attended the scene on Thursday morning.
A NIAS spokesman said: ‘We were called to an emergency in the Ballycolman area of Strabane at 10.30am this morning. No patients were taken from the scene.’
The lottery win brought her nothing but trouble and she vowed to spread her good fortune around.
She said at the time: ‘No point having £27m and being lonely. That can’t make me happy, that can only make me happy that everybody else’s happy and so far everybody is absolutely delighted.’
But within four months of the win she was sectioned before winning her appeal against the mental health ruling.
She bought Herdman’s Mill in Sion Mills in 2014, but it was targeted by fires and vandalism, prompting her to sell up.
Ms Loughrey locked horns with Sion Mills Cricket Club and at one point locked them out of their pitch on the grounds.
They eventually came to an agreement they could use it and had done since without incident.
Then in 2015 Ms Loughrey was ordered to do 150 hours of community service after being convicted of assaulting a taxi driver.
She told magistrates she could not remember anything about the alcohol-fuelled attack in May that year.
Strabane Magistrates’ Court was told that Loughrey was ‘highly intoxicated’ after drinking vodka at a friend’s house when the altercation took place.
The prosecution lawyer said: ‘The driver picked her up at an address in Sion Mills and took her to her home.
‘She then shouted at him that she had no keys to get into her house.
‘The injured party tried to gain access to the address but when he returned to his taxi the defendant refused to get out of the car.’
The lottery winner then grabbed a hold of the taxi driver’s glasses, breaking them.
She also tore his sat-nav from the vehicle’s windscreen and threw a book she’d found in the back seat at him.
Instead of asking her to leave, the cabbie opted to drive to the town’s police station, handing her over to officers.
Even then she continued to behave both aggressively and was argumentatively.
She was physically restrained before being taken from the car into the police headquarters.
Speaking in 2019, Ms Loughrey said “Money has brought me nothing but grief. It has destroyed my life.
“I have had six years of this. I don’t believe in religion, but if there is a hell, I have been in it. It has been that bad. I went down to five-and-a-half stone.”
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