Keith Gough and his wife Louise from Bridgenorth, Shropshire, celebrating a £9 million Lotto windfall in 2005. Photo: PA
A £9 million lottery winner who blew his money on drink, racehorses and football has died penniless after suffering a heart attack brought on by money worries.
Keith Gough’s death brought to an end a story of huge fortune followed by a tragic personal downfall.
After winning the money with his wife, Louise, in 2005, he blew millions on property, drink and horse racing. He bought an executive box at Aston Villa FC and was tricked out of his remaining £700,000 by a con man who persuaded him to invest in a series of non-existent business ventures.
Mr Gough, 58, collapsed and died at his nephew’s house in Broseley, Shrops, last week and friends said yesterday that he had been suffering from financial worries.
One friend, who did not want to be named, said: “Keith always put a brave face on things but he was financially screwed. A combination of carelessness, naivety and generosity left him skint and he was finding it hard to get back on his feet.
“I know the stress of not being able to pay his way was weighing on his mind.”
Mr and Mrs Gough hit the headlines in 2005 when Mrs Gough bought the lucky jackpot ticket from a local shop.
Mr Gough, from Bridgnorth, Shrops, gave up his job as a baker and began drinking heavily. His spending included a £1 million country mansion, £80,000 on a gardener and chauffeur, a £500,000 house, £180,000 on racehorses, £35,000 on the executive box and a £60,000 BMW.
Soon after, his 25-year marriage ended, yet Mrs Gough gave him £1.5 million following their separation.
But as his life spiralled out of control he gambled away tens of thousands of pounds and splashed out on flash cars and parties.
He checked into the Priory rehabilitation clinic in Birmingham for his alcoholism, where he fell victim to fraudster James Prince, who conned him out of £700,000 between August 2006 and July 2008.
Prince, who was jailed for three years and four months last June, befriended him and plied him with alcohol before persuading him to sign over his money for “business ventures”.
John Homer, owner of Broseley News, where Mrs Gough bought the winning ticket, yesterday described him as “a lovely man”.
He said: “Keith was larger than life. I understand he died of a heart attack but I know he had alcohol-related problems as well.
“He was a lovely man and will be sorely missed. Winning the money was the worst thing that happened to him. It’s very sad.”
Les Winwood, a Shropshire councillor friend of Mr Gough’s, said: “He was quite a character and he had a lot of friends who used the pub. I knew him socially, he knew he’d made mistakes with the money but was never bitter and was a great man to know.”
Graham Hall, a former work colleague, said: “It was a tragic end for a larger than life character.”
Last year Mr Gough, who has a teenage son with Louise, said he regretted winning the money.
He said: “My life was brilliant. But the lottery has ruined everything. What’s the point of having money when it sends you to bed crying?
“I thought the lotto win was going to be the answer to my dreams. Now those dreams have turned to dust.”
Mrs Gough, 58, who was a secretary when she won the money, declined to comment. Her former husband’s funeral will be held at Telford Crematorium next week.