Irish €6.4m Euromillions winner banned from driving after court hears 'riches to rags' story
Published 03/06/2015 | 07:35
A multi-millionaire playboy who splashed out £170,000 on a Ferrari sports car days after he scooped £6.4m in the EuroMillions lottery has been banned from driving.
But Ryan Magee wasn't driving an Italian supercar when he was stopped on the Foyle Bridge in Derry in December last year while disqualified and without insurance.
In a riches to rags story heard at Londonderry Magistrates' Court yesterday, a judge was told that the Eglinton man, who once made it onto The Sunday Times Top 100 rich list for young people, was behind the wheel of a Ford Focus.
Since his big win in 2008, Magee has crashed his Ferrari, had to put his luxury home up for sale, seen his business crash and split from his wife.
And, as he was ordered to complete 200 hours of community service, disqualified from driving for five years and fined £250, it transpired that Magee was claiming legal aid in the case. The 34-year-old pleaded guilty to the charges.
His own barrister said the defendant's life in recent years could be summed up by saying "every silver lining has a dark cloud".
When the Belfast Telegraph later telephoned Magee at his luxury home on the outskirts of Derry, he answered and claimed we had "the wrong number".
Magee, from Monnaboy Road, won £6.4m after buying 11 lottery tickets at 11 different outlets across Northern Ireland in February 2008.
He purchased his winning ticket at a post office near Strabane, Co Tyrone, and was one of 16 people across Europe to share the £96m jackpot.
With his winnings he bought a Ferrari 458 Italia as well as a luxury house equipped with a champagne bar.
The five-bedroom detached house, in Eglinton on the outskirts of Londonderry, is up for sale with a guide price of £450,000. The spacious country mansion is described by estate agent Eddie O'Connor as a "superbly built family home with all the luxuries of a Hollywood star".
Billed as "every family's dream house" the luxury pile includes bespoke amenities such as an indoor swimming pool, steam room, 10-person hot tub and champagne bar complete with red baize pool table.
The sale of his home is just the latest in a series of personal woes for the IT professional.
In December 2011, Magee made headlines when he crashed his six-figure supercar close to his home on the Glenshane Pass.
He was driving the 200mph Ferrari in treacherous conditions when he came off the road.
The car careered through a barbed wire fence, snapped several large wooden posts, bounced over rocks and ended up nose-first in a bog. However, the car only appeared to suffer minor damage.
In 2013 his business, Magee Fuels, ceased trading and later that year he split from wife Margaret.
In court yesterday a prosecution solicitor said that on December 4 last year police officers on mobile patrol saw Magee driving the Ford Focus car along the Foyle Bridge at 8.40pm. When stopped by police, officers asked Magee if he was driving while disqualified. Magee replied: "Yep, that's right."
"They knew him to be a disqualified driver as he had been disqualified last August for 18 months for driving matters," his solicitor said.
"He has found himself not back at square one but several steps behind square one. He has appreciated somewhat late in the day his responsibilities to others, particularly in terms of his driving," he told the court.
Mr Devlin said Magee's latest offending typified a degree of foolishness and said in recent years he had been traumatised by his misfortunes as a result of recent events in his life.
District Judge Peter King said Magee's criminal record of 17 previous convictions, 12 of them for road traffic offences, was appalling. He said some of those convictions had led to driving disqualifications.
Judge King added that if Magee failed to comply with the 200-hour community service order, he would send him to jail for six months.