The unemployed football fan who scooped £9.3 million on the lottery has revealed that his girlfriend won’t be sharing his winnings – because they split up five weeks ago.
Paul Long, 55, split up with his girlfriend Juliet West, 52, at the beginning of February after a five-year relationship.
Mr Long, from Wickford, Essex, said the pair had split amicably but would not be surprised if his ex-partner was ‘gutted’ about his new millionaire status.
He told The Mirror: ‘Let’s be honest, if I was with someone and you’ve just split up and they go and win £9million on the lottery, you’re going to be gutted aren’t you?’
Mr Long won a total of £9.3m on last Saturday’s Lotto, having bought his winning lucky dip ticket while celebrating his beloved Leyton Orient’s 3-0 win against Woking.
The father-of-three said he initially believed he had won £9,000 before his friend pointed out to him he had scooped the jackpot.
He received an email on Sunday morning from Camelot saying he had won but when he logged in, saw his account only had £3.90 left.
After ringing the customer helpline, he said he ‘must have been in denial’ and came away believing he had won £9,000.
Mr Long said: ‘I’ve rung my mate and told him and he said, ‘text me the ticket over’.
‘He then said: ‘Hi mate, I’m not being funny, you’ve won £9 million.’
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‘I said: ‘Shut up.’’
He rang the Lotto helpline back to confirm he was the sole jackpot winner and asked: ‘is this a scam?’.
Mr Long said: ‘He said: ‘Yeah I confirm it’s £9 million – you’re a multi-millionaire, blah-de-blah.’
‘I said: ‘Mate, are you in a room full of people having a wind up or something?’ and he was like: ‘No, this is real, you are really the winner Mr Long.’
‘I was really excited but I couldn’t be because I was so scared it wasn’t. You won’t let your emotions believe it is.
‘You’re looking for negatives and anything that makes it not real.’
Mr Long Googled the adviser’s name and then, still in disbelief during a sleepless night at around 3am on Monday morning, he Googled the adviser again and watched a video which featured their distinctive voice.
Mr Long said: ‘I said to my daughter, ‘It’s real Bec, I’m telling you it’s real.’’
He explained he had been a victim of fraud before and that he was naturally suspicious.
After hanging up the call, Mr Long then told his close family as the result sank in.
He said: ‘I think I opened a bottle of Coors Light and then thought, you know what, I need a cup of tea.’
The following day Mr Long, who worked at the Ford plant in Dagenham for more than 14 years, put a deposit on a new Ford EcoSport worth at least £23,600.
He said: ‘I’m just a normal guy – I don’t want a Lamborghini.
‘I would never buy something like a £100,000 car because that’s just not who I am.’
Having been unable to work for 11 months after injuring his Achilles tendon while pulling a suitcase up the stairs, Mr Long’s job hunt is now permanently on hold.
While he is living in a rented home at the moment, he said he has no extravagant spending sprees planned and wanted to use the money to give his 27-year-old daughter and two sons, aged 24 and 21, a secure future.
But Mr Long, who is divorced from their mother, said: ‘I’m not going to make them millionaires.
‘I think they should learn the value of things.’