Lottery winner Michael Carroll avoids jail after breaching court order

Lottery winner Michael Carroll spoke of his relief yesterday after he avoided being sent to jail for breaching a court order.

The 27-year-old arrived at King's Lynn Magistrates' Court just before 2pm with a large holdall after breaching a community order which was part of a suspended prison sentence.

The court heard the Downham Market resident was given the order, which included 120 hours of unpaid work, in September after he was caught driving nearly four times the legal alcohol limit.

The breaches by Carroll, who won �9.7m on the lottery in 2002, relate to him missing appointments under the order on December 15, 2010 and January 24 this year.

The former binman was asked to provide evidence to the probation service within 10 days to explain his non-attendance but he failed to do so and was brought back to court.

Ian Graham, mitigating, said his client had been ill with a chest infection and that was why he had missed the appointments.

He said his client is an alcoholic but has been 'very honest' about his alcohol issues with the probation service

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He said: 'He continues to drink heavily and it has now become far more than social drinking.

'He has been complying with this order and this is the most technical of breaches. The unpaid work hours will be completed.

'He is now working as a painter and decorator and not claiming benefits. He is back at square one and he just wants to be left alone.'

Mr Graham pleaded with magistrates to continue the community order and not activate the 16-week suspended prison sentence for the breach.

Magistrates told Carroll that he would not be sent to prison for the breach and that the order would continue but added an extra five sessions to the order to help him continue to tackle his alcohol addiction. He was also told to pay court costs of �50.

Speaking after the sentencing hearing, Carroll said he was 'relieved' not to be going to prison because he has been enjoying his new job.

He said: 'For two years no one has given me a chance but when this job as a painter and decorator came along I just had to take it.

'I am really trying hard to get back on my feet but if I had gone to prison I would have lost this job.'