Sunday 18 March 2018

Irish man who won €1.35m lotto reveals that the pressure of the jackpot led to him considering suicide

David Kevitt
David Kevitt
National Lottery
Patricia Murphy

Patricia Murphy

An Irish man who won €1.35m in 2004 revealed that his fortune led him into a deep depression in the years following his landfall win.

David Kevitt, who was just 28 when he scooped the jackpot, said that the subsequent years were the most traumatic of his life and led to him considering suicide.

Prior to his win, the then 28-year-old has been turned down for a loan to purchase a fruit and vegetable shop in Co. Louth but thanks to the mid-week quick pick, was able to push forward on his dream to own his own business.

“The bank said there was no chance that I’d get a loan to buy this business, and I went home that night to make a business plan and try to get a loan from another bank.

“The next morning I went in to the post office to post my plan and to buy a salad roll and a quick pick,” said David speaking to Marian Finucane on RTE Radio One.

“The next day the milk man said to me ‘Did you hear the lotto was won?’ and I thought nothing of it.

David Kevitt and his partner Lisa pictured with a cheque in 2004
David Kevitt and his partner Lisa pictured with a cheque in 2004
David Kevitt

“I heard then that it was our post office and I suddenly had a sixth sense and I knew it was me. I rang the National Lottery and they said you’re the winner. The news spread like wildfire and even if I wanted to stay anonymous I couldn’t have,” he said.

Following his win, David and his partner Lisa bought and renovated the shop but the opening of local supermarkets and the ‘whispers’ of people from the local community meant that business soon turned sour.

“We were selling stuff for quite cheap and had a good reputation but there were always little whispers of ‘That’s your man who won the lotto’ or ‘It’s not as if he needs the money’. I never wanted to be tagged as that person.

“I revamped the whole shop at a cost that was madness. A lot of money went into it. Over a period of months sales continuously dropped.

“If I was a self made millionaire would it had been different?”

David revealed that some people’s attitudes towards him following the win were unfair and sometimes abusive.

"I remember I went to a funeral a friend of mine’s father had died.

“I remember sitting in the function room and it was packed and never felt so alone. Felt I was alienated.

David Kevitt
David Kevitt
David Kevitt and his partner Lisa pictured with a cheque in 2004

“People weren’t interacting with me.

“I went to the toilet and this guy came in and started to abuse me. ‘You don’t dress like a millionaire’ he said. I said ‘How is a millionaire supposed to dress?’

“A vengeance built up inside me. I felt like I couldn’t listen to the nonsense anymore.”

David’s struggling business began to have an impact on his mental health and he suffered from insomnia because of worry.

“I used to lie in bed at night, thinking. I told my GP it was like a mouse on a wheel in my head. You would feel like a failure.

“I remember getting up and sitting in the garden 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning crying because you didn’t want anyone else to know,” he said.

The business man revealed that his depression lead to suicidal thoughts and he spoke of a particular afternoon where he felt like he had had enough of it all.

“I can laugh about it now but one day a lady came in and wanted to buy a lemon. She said to me ‘40c is quite expensive for a lemon.’

“I thought to myself ‘Are you mad trying to sell a lemon for 40c?,’ he said.

“I went down and sat by the local river crying in the rain and wind and I was destroyed with water.

“I wanted to close my eyes and not have these thoughts. I wanted the silence and darkness.

“I sat there that day and I don’t remember the walk down to the river.

“I sat beside river remember thinking about how all the people in my life were better off without me,” he said.

Luckily a local woman spotted David in distress and alerted the authorities, for which he says he is more than grateful.

“I was sitting there and someone said ‘Are you okay?’

“An ambulance had been called. A woman had spotted me and called them.

“I broke down in floods of tears. ‘Come with us’,” they said and I did.”

The business man said that he is unsure if he would have experienced such depression had he not won the lotto.

Soon after closing the shop David and his partner Lisa found out they were expecting a third baby, to which David was thrilled.

“I felt like I had been given new purpose. One evening when he was about five months old I was looking at him laying on the sofa. I made a promise that I’m going to be around for this kid and the girls,” he said.

Of his €1.3m win, David believes that he invested more than €600,000 into businesses that failed and said that the huge life change was something he might not have been equipped to handle.

“Before I had won the lotto I was a normal bloke, brought home a week’s wages but I just got on with it.

“When I won the lotto I don’t think I ever worried about money as much in my life,” he said.

If you are affected by depression or suicidal thoughts, please call the Samaritans on 116 123 in the Republic of Ireland and 08457 90 90 90 in Northern Ireland and the UK.

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