Lottery winner driven out of UK after giving £1.5m to people who begged for cash

Roger Robar spoke to the Sunday Mirror in 1999
Roger Robar spoke to the Sunday Mirror in 1999
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Three years after winning the lottery prize, a lottery winner chose to leave the UK because he was tired of people pleading with him for money.

After winning £6 million, Roger Robar said that his life had turned into a suffocating misery and that he had the feeling that he was being boxed within a coffin.

Speaking to the Sunday Mirror in 1999, he revealed that after receiving more than 50 requests for assistance in the first few weeks, he had already distributed a fourth of his winnings.

He said that the constant harassment drove him insane, wrecked his marriage, and prevented him from having further children.


He decided to up sticks and head for a quieter life in France after giving away £1.5m to complete strangers.

The Martinique-born chef said: “I’m worse than a prisoner. I’m living in a coffin. Even a coffin is more peaceful because people don’t knock on it every five minutes saying, `Please help me’.

“All day people come to my restaurant, stop me in the street, run up to my car, phone me, wait outside my house and drive me completely crazy.

“I never realised people are so hungry, that they have so many problems.

“Each one has a sad story – “Roger I had a fire in my house’, `Roger I need an operation’, `Roger, my mother died and I have to go to the funeral in America’, `My child is sick’, `My husband’s left me’, and a million more.

“But it’s choking me. I can’t give to the whole world. Even accountants, lawyers, and musicians beg me for money to help them out of a mess.

“I say no, go away, please leave me alone, but people don’t listen. They follow me, they come back, sometimes they get aggressive.

“I want my space, I want to be able to walk down the street like the next man, go to the market, sit in the pub and to have a drink. I’m the sort of man who desperately needs his freedom.”

Roger started playing the lottery to pay for his daughter’s wedding, but says if he could have his time again the minute he won, he’d cashed his cheque and left.

Speaking back in the late 90s he said: “I regret it day and night. Last week I woke up sobbing and shouting, `God, I made a terrible mistake, please help me.’

“It would have been better if I hadn’t won the lottery. I had no idea my life would turn out like this, so packed full of stress.

“If I had the choice between winning the lottery and still being a chef on £250-a-week, I’d choose to stay a chef. I was so much happier.

“No one came to beg from me, my life was good, full of laughs, and easy going. I rented a flat, travelled on the bus or friends drove me, worked hard at a job I love, and then I relaxed. I was a million times more relaxed.

“It’s too late to change now. To change I must leave England. Only that will save my life. If I stay in this country I will die.”

It is not known if Roger left for France, but he was back in the news four years later in 2003 when he opened a Roger’s Seafood – a Caribbean-style restaurant – which is now closed.


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Dulal Ahmed Chowdhury is the Editor of The Daily Dazzling Dawn. Previously, he has been serving in important positions in all the famous national dailies of the Bangladesh since the nineties. He has played a commendable role in journalism by participating in various events at the national and international levels. United Nations Conference, World Climate Conference, SAARC Summit are notable among them.

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