Lotto lout jailed for nine months

NATIONAL Lottery winner Michael Carroll was jailed for nine months at Norwich Crown Court yesterday after admitting affray.Carroll, 22, and three friends caused havoc when they burst into a Christian rock concert in Downham Market, Norfolk, in May 2004.

NATIONAL Lottery winner Michael Carroll was jailed for nine months at Norwich Crown Court yesterday after admitting affray.

Carroll, 22, and three friends caused havoc when they burst into a Christian rock concert in Downham Market, Norfolk, in May 2004.

Two of the concert-goers required hospital treatment while other young Christians prayed for their lives, after the youths, two with baseball bats, ran amok. One of them has never been identified.

Carroll, a former dustman who won a £9.7 million jackpot just over three years ago, and his friend David Howard, 24, pleaded guilty to affray last month.

Howard's brother Paul, 19, admitted the charge at an earlier hearing and was jailed for six months.

Last month the court heard the trio, armed with the bats, invaded the concert after two teenage girls they knew had been in a row outside the town hall.

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The girls, who cannot be named, each admitted a charge of threatening behaviour.

Only eight months ago Carroll, who has homes in Downham Market and Swaffham in Norfolk, said he was "turning over a new leaf".

In June, he told journalists that he was changing his ways and calling him a "lout' was wrong.

"I don't want to go back to prison,' Carroll said.

"I have turned over a new leaf and want to get on the straight and narrow path.'

Carroll was speaking three days after magistrates in King's Lynn made him the subject of an anti-social behaviour order (Asbo) after hearing he caused more than £3,000 damage by catapulting ball bearings through car windows as he was driven along a road in a black Mercedes with the number plate L111 OUT.

In July 2004, Carroll was given a five-month jail term after breaching a drug treatment and testing order imposed when he was convicted of possessing cocaine.

Probation officers said he failed to attend half his scheduled drug test appointments.

He was released from prison in September 2004.

Carroll won the lottery in November 2002 and picked up his cheque while wearing an electronic tag which magistrates had ordered to be fitted after he was convicted of drunk and disorderly behaviour.

Richard Potts, prosecuting, told the court that trouble erupted when Carroll and three friends barged into the alcohol-free disco at Downham Market town hall after the girls were involved in an argument outside the premises.

The girls, who are now aged 15 and 17, had punched another girl who had been at the disco and had thrown noodles and drink in her face, the court heard.

During the incident inside the venue two party-goers including the organiser of the event were assaulted.

Mr Potts said one of the girls, Carroll and his friends were captured on CCTV entering the venue.

"Mr Norman heard the girl pointing someone else out and he was then punched hard in the face causing him to fall to the ground,' he said.

"He was then hit or kicked to the back of the head. Other witnesses spoke of him being kicked to the head. It is the crown's case that Paul Howard did that.

"Mr Norman later described how he had blood in his mouth having suffered a brief moment of unconsciousness.

"Then he described to police how he knelt down on the stage and prayed and how he was joined by a number of other young people in this act of prayer.'

Mr Potts added: "Michael Carroll accepts he was present as shown on the images that your honour has seen and he says that at no point did he use unlawful violence inside the hall.'

Ben Smitten, mitigating for Carroll, said his client was not someone who posed a danger to the public and was remorseful about the incident.

He said Carroll had gone to the scene because he thought the girls were in danger and did not realise they had initiated the trouble.

He added that Carroll was inside the premises for just 34 seconds "of foolishness'.

Talking about his client's background, Mr Smitten said Carroll's aunt had described his lottery win as "the worst thing that ever happened to him'.

He said Carroll was no longer taking drugs and that his behaviour had improved.

"Michael Carroll is far from a criminal mastermind,' he added.

mfl Judge Peter Jacobs sentenced Carroll to nine months in prison and David Howard to 18 months, nine months for the affray and nine months for handling a stolen JCB.

The girls both received a one-year conditional discharge.

Sentencing Carroll and Howard, Judge Jacobs said: "You went along to exact some form of retribution. A large number of people were terrified about what went on. This sort of behaviour cannot be tolerated.'

The court heard that Carroll has 42 previous offences recorded since 1997.

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