A LOTTERY winning couple took home £1.8million before losing it all and blaming each other.

After hitting the big time in 2005, Roger and Lara Griffiths,bought a luxurious Yorkshire property for £800,000 and seemed to be set for life.

The interest alone after they scooped the jackpot at one point earned them £340 a day.

But the huge lotto win eventually culminated in the end of their once-happy 14-year marriage after multiple heated rows.

Bad investments and business ventures as well as bad luck saw their winning fortune torpedoed.

And one week after he moved out of the family home, Roger dropped the bombshell that every penny of their fortune was gone.

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They were in debt and their dream home had been used as security to bail out the struggling beauty spa business they had set up for £200,000.

Mum-of-two Lara told MailOnline: "This really was the house of our dreams.

"We were absolutely thrilled to be able to buy something like this. Who wouldn’t be? It’s lovely.

"Let me tell you, winning the lottery is not all it’s cracked up to be. Most people end up worse off in some way, and no one has any sympathy because you won the money instead of earning it.

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"I’m not even back to square one, I’m much worse off than before the win."

Before the win, Lara says, they hardly ever argued and Roger used to spend £2 every week, placing his bet on the internet.

Lara said: "Roger always used to say he’d win the lottery one day but when it actually happened it was a shock.

"Of course it was exciting, it’s what everyone dreams of, isn’t it? But looking back, that’s when all our worries started.

"We both come from good families, and are well-educated, but we weren’t wealthy and we had no idea how to manage such a large amount of money."

Let me tell you, winning the lottery is not all it’s cracked up to be. I’m much worse off than before the win."

Lara added: "The money caused a lot of contention from the start. Roger’s idea was that we would both give up our jobs and live off the money, spending very little of it, but I didn’t want to give that up.

"My plan was to enjoy some of it and carefully invest the rest. I thought we should put some aside just to spend on stuff."

But the mum does admit they may have splurged to much of the money after five-star holidays to Dubai, New York, Majorca and Monaco.

Roger’s had a new £28,000 Porsche convertible while Lara ferried their daughters Ruby and Kitty in a Lexus 4×4 to their £10,000-a-year private school.

The mum also bought jewellery, clothes, furniture and enough designer bags to fill a shop while Roger splashed out on a collection of £500 suits, as well as freshly whitened teeth and Botoxed face.


Lara concedes the spending was actually stressful, saying: "Actually, it didn’t feel so fabulous to be able to pay for whatever we wanted.

"We felt scared. You are constantly thinking “Is this wrong? Will we lose it? Is this the right decision to make? How long will it last?”

"We were so desperate not to mess it up, and it’s very difficult when you have advisers coming to you in their shiny suits and flash cars. Who do you trust?"

She adds: "We were told not to put all our eggs in one basket, so we decided to invest in property and business. We thought we were doing everything right."

Roger gave up his job to become a househusband, manage their investments and set about reviving his childhood dream of being a rock star.

He splashed out £4,000 on new guitars and £25,000 on making a record with a band that sold just 600 copies.

Lara says that neither of them had any idea a recession was coming that would help tank their finances.

She said: "I was working all hours, up to 9 or 10pm at night trying to make a success of the spa, but it was haemorrhaging money.

"Roger was brilliant with the children, but I resented him being at home and kept on at him to get a job, especially as I was so busy at work I didn’t even have time for a lunch break.

"I admit I wasn’t the easiest person to live with, but Roger could be selfish, too."

Things got worse on New Year’s Eve 2010, when a fire gutted their underinsured property and they had to pay for temporary accommodation for seven months.


Two months after moving back in, Lara uncovered emails on her husband’s computer.

She said: "It was the worst moment of my life. In the archive I found a conversation between Roger and a male friend.

"My husband was asking for a woman’s telephone number and his friend seemed to be encouraging him. I went to pieces and phoned Roger for an explanation."

Confronting Roger about it Lara claims he just said "s***" and didn't offer an apology or anything else.

She continued: "Within ten minutes he was back home. He walked straight past me into his office, and started packing his bags. He was shouting at me, telling me I was an idiot and pathetic, then he just left.

"I was hysterical. I tried calling him, but his phone was dead, and when I tried to contact him on Facebook he had blocked me.

"I may have been horrible to him for a week, but I would have forgiven him anything because I loved him. I don’t believe in divorce, family is everything to me."

An hour after leaving, Roger sent Lara text saying he was ashamed of himself and then disappeared before returning a week later and telling how he was "unhappy".

But according to Lara, Roger then said: “I want to come home because we have even bigger problems, problems you don’t know about. We’re broke and I can’t afford to live anywhere else.”

Lara refused his request and a week later they met again to talk things through before Roger left for good.


Despite everything, Lara says she doesn’t regret the lottery win but just wishes the outcome could have been different.

Since then, the couple have barely talked, with their eldest daughter Ruby so hurt by the break-up she refuses to see her father.

Roger Griffiths, who now lives alone, told the Mail that he was "ashamed" of the emails Lara found but denied being unfaithful, and declined to talk further about his private life.

He said he accepted responsibility for the couple’s financial situation, but explained that Lara had never shown much interest in meetings with their advisers and accountants – and left most of it to him.

Roger said: "Lara is a brilliant mother and was a wonderful partner to me. The emails did not end our marriage, but were a catalyst. Our marriage had been going wrong for some time and the strain of our financial situation did not help.

"It’s true to say the lottery win affected our relationship for the worse. Before, we were a team, treading parallel paths, and after, we started pulling in completely different directions.

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"Ours is a really a cautionary tale. We’re both well-educated people who worked hard to make our businesses a success. If this can happen to us, it can happen to anyone."

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