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Big Prize, Big Problems For Record British Lottery Winner

June 13, 1995

LONDON (AP) _ The curse of instant wealth has struck again.

One of two winners of a record $36 million jackpot in Britain’s National Lottery faces threats of legal action from his estranged wife and a hope from his adoptive mother that he will drink himself to death.

Mark Gardiner, 33, who runs a glass-fitting business from a garage, was identified by newspapers after winning the lottery Saturday. He and his business partner, Paul Maddison, shared a one-pound ($1.60) ticket and hit all six numbers to win the jackpot.

``I’m after half his cash,″ the thrice-married Gardiner’s estranged wife, Kim Cresswell, 33, was quoted as telling Britain’s Sun newspaper.

Mrs. Cresswell _ her husband recently changed his name to Gardiner _ said their divorce isn’t final.

Irene Cresswell, 68, who adopted Gardiner as a toddler and raised him, told newspapers: ``He has made our life a misery. I hope he drinks himself to death.″

Gardiner would not comment on their remarks, saying only: ``It’s very sad, some of the things that have been written about me.″

Gardiner and Maddison will share the jackpot.

``Last night we were all talking about what you could spend it on and didn’t get up to a million,″ said Gardiner, who lives in Hastings, 55 miles south of London.

``We will be going back to work some time this week,″ Maddison said. ``We’ll probably buy a new van for the business.″

The jackpot topped the $27.9 million won in December by an Indian-born factory worker in north England. He’s quarreled with his brothers over the money and been criticized by Muslim leaders for gambling.

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