Money Can’t Buy Happiness, Life of, Mukhtar Mohidin, Britain’s First Lottery Winner

23 years ago, Mukhtar Mohidin made history by becoming Britain’s first National Lottery multi-millionaire in November 1994, then unimaginable sum of £17.9 million.

Money Can’t Buy Happiness, Life of, Mukhtar Mohidin, Britain’s First Lottery Winner
Money Can’t Buy Happiness, Life of, Mukhtar Mohidin, Britain’s First Lottery Winner

Mukhtar Mohidin was typical of many Asians who arrived in Britain in the Seventies and settled in Blackburn with his parents. Chemical factory shift-worker living with his wife, Sayeeda, and their three young children, in a redbrick terraced house in Blackburn, Lancashire. His wife earned £100 a week in the local factory.

They Money he used to bought the winning ticket was provided by his tenant, Ismail Lorgat, who handed him £50 to pay a £46 electricity bill in that fateful week in December 1994, and told him to spend the £4 change on the exciting new Lottery.

The agreement was that if their numbers came up, they would split the prize; but Mr Mohidin reneged on the deal after the winning Lottery and they never spoke again.

But an £18m win transformed his life. After massive cheque been deposited in his new account at the Yorkshire Bank than he began to transform himself from a popular, hard-working, devoutly religious family man to a drunken, violent, womanising playboy.

Muslim community declined to accept his charity as gambling is against Islamic teaching, he and his family fled Blackburn to start a new life in the Home Counties.

They spirited away, first to a relative’s flat in North London — where there was a heated argument over how the spoils should be divided (eventually a dozen family members received £100,000 each) — then on a luxurious world tour, costing £20,000 for the air tickets alone.

His Indian-born Sayeeda, who had always been more Westernised than her husband, splashed out on outfits for the trip, her husband complained.

In a West End branch of Burton he argued

with his wife on a suit price, saying he could get it cheaper in Blackburn.

He started going off alone to drink (Johnnie Walker Black Label became his favourite tipple), leaving his wife to care for their three children.

His marriage quickly fell apart after he reportedly hit her and threatened her with a gun in 1998, and his relatives were riven by jealous feuds as they fought for a share of the spoils. Mr Mohidin’s wife divorced him, in 1998, she received a £5 million settlement, plus possession of the house and £60,000 per year in maintenance for each of their children.

He recreated himself as ‘Mike’ and posed as a wealthy investment banker. He started gambling compulsively in London’s top casinos and hire high-class call-girls, whom he pathetically attempted to impress with gifts and exotic holidays. One of these £800-a-night escorts became his mistress and gave birth to his child who is now a teenager.

Without friends or a family home, and cut off from his roots, Mr Mohidin drifted from club to bar to casino, using his cash to buy company.

Mr Mohidin appears to have been torn between his piety and decadence. He was last seen in Blackpool, a few years ago, staying in a £35-a-night bed and breakfast boarding house, accompanied by a woman he met in Thailand. He was only 64 when he died, on August 23, in a Berkshire hospital.

There was nothing special about his funeral, late last month, at a nearby mosque. No limousines or grandiloquent speeches. Like most of the mourners, the imam who conducted the service knew nothing of the extraordinary life he had led. His death rated no more than a few paragraphs in the local papers.

Old adage that money really doesn’t buy happiness, his tenant, Ismail Lorgat said he could have had a wonderful life. People could have remembered him and sung his praises, but he was a weak man who succumbed to temptation and carnal desires.