A former multi-millionaire lottery winner who splashed out almost £170,000 on a Ferrari sports car days after he scooped £6.4 million in the EuroMillions lottery just seven years ago, required free legal aid yesterday when he pleaded guilty at the Magistrate's Court in Derry to driving a Ford Focus car along the city's Foyle Bridge last year while disqualified and without insurance.
Ryan Magee, 34, from Monnaboy Road in Eglinton was included in the 'Sunday Times' top 100 rich list for young people when he won the £6.4m after buying 11 lottery tickets in 11 different outlets in February 2008. He bought the Ferrari 458 Italia as well as a luxury house equipped with a champagne bar. The house is up for auction.
In court yesterday, a prosecution solicitor said that on December 4 of last year police officers on mobile patrol saw Magee driving the Ford Focus car along the Foyle Bridge at 8.40 pm.
When stopped by police and asked if he was driving while disqualified, Magee replied: "yep, that's right".
Magee's legally aided barrister Eoghan Devlin said the defendant's life in recent years could be summed up by saying "every silver lining has a dark cloud. 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".
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 seventeen previous convictions, twelve of them for road traffic offence, was appalling. He said some of those convictions had led to driving disqualifications.
He ordered Magee to complete 200 hours of community service, disqualified him from driving for five years and fined him £250, adding: "You are clearly a menace not only to yourself but also to other road users."