This is the moment a father-of-five taxi driver and his family erupted with joy after hearing he had scooped £24million on the lottery.
Amo Riselli, 50, from Gloucester, screamed ‘oh my God!’ after lottery officials told him the astonishing total, and now plans to swap his cab for a Ferrari, buy a mansion with a pool and book a trip to Vegas.
Mr Riselli, who lost his partner, Donna Sciberras, to a heart attack four years ago when she was 41, already knew his ticket was a winner but had to phone Camelot to check how much he had won.
The workaholic, who lives in a modest £180,000 semi-detached house in Gloucester, was joined by his 21-year-old daughter Bethany for the celebrations, who said: ‘Mum would have loved it.’
Mr Riselli scooped £24,501,283 after matching five main numbers and the bonus ball in the Lotto draw last Wednesday. He is pictured with his five daughters, left to right: Tammy Locke, 31, Latitia Sciberras, 25, Bethany Sciberras, 21, Nicola Locke, 26, and Lucia Locke, 28
Mr Riselli lost his partner, Donna Sciberras, to a heart attack four years ago when she was aged 41. He has lived in the Gloucester area all his life, and plans to stay near there
The father-of-five’s six-seater’ semi-detached £180,000 house in Gloucester, with the white taxi parked outside the front
The taxi driver, who survived a heart attack just weeks before his partner died as he pulled 70 hours-a-week shifts, also paid tribute to his father, who died in 2003, adding: ‘I’m sure they are both looking down upon us now.’
He had returned from a gruelling night shift to find Donna slumped over the Christmas tree in their home on December 16, 2013. Despite calling an ambulance there was nothing that could be done to save her.
Neighbour Ray Hazell said: ‘He was working nights and one night came home and found Donna dead. She’d had a heart attack and he found her collapsed over the Christmas tree. It was horribly sad.
‘My wife suffered a heart attack in bed two years ago but luckily I was there and called an ambulance and she was saved.
‘Now whenever Amo comes round to see us, he looks at my wife and says if only he was at home when Donna had her heart attack, perhaps he could have saved her.
‘He says if only he wasn’t working so many hours she might still be here but it was totally out of the blue. No one was expecting it. Donna was fit and healthy.’
Mr Riselli plans to share some of the winnings with his five daughters, nine grandchildren, four brothers and sisters, and mother, Maria, who turns 80 in February.
The main numbers in Wednesday’s draw were 18, 36, 48, 57, 58, 59 and the bonus ball was 50.
The new multi-millionaire did not even have all six numbers but the top prize had to be won, so the jackpot rolled down to those who had matched five numbers and the bonus ball – which only he did.
Mr Riselli’s success comes after ‘real heartache’ for his family, according to neighbour Mr Hazell, who also revealed he had a heart attack just weeks before Donna’s death.
Lucky Amo’s odds ten times less likely than being hit by lightning
Experts say winning the lottery is rare – but managing to scoop £24.5million without even matching all six numbers is even more unlikely.
In fact, Camelot say the odds are so improbable, it is almost impossible to come up with a figure.
The chances of matching five plus the bonus ball however, are 1 in 7,509,579 million. In other words, you’re more likely to be struck by lightning (1 in 700,000 chance).
But somehow on December 27, Amo Riselli was not only lucky enough that another person didn’t have all the numbers – but he was the only one to have five plus the bonus.
It is only the second time in Camelot’s history that one person has walked away with the entire jackpot without matching all six numbers.
The previous person to win the jackpot with five numbers plus the bonus scooped a prize of £26,410,895. The winner, who wanted to remain anonymous, won on December 31, 2016, almost a year before Mr Riselli’s lucky day.
More recently in May 2017, no one matched six numbers so two five plus bonus ticket holders shared a £25,442,066 jackpot, winning £13,759,916 each.
And then on 18 October 2017, the jackpot rolled down to five ticket-holders who shared £24,995,407, £5,014,254 each.
‘Just weeks before Donna died, Amo had a heart attack,’ Mr Hazell said. ‘He had been working so very hard, all the hours he could. I wouldn’t be surprised if he worked 60 or 70 hours a week. He worked for his family.
‘About three or four years ago he had a heart attack, and within about six weeks he was back working again.’
Mr Hazell’s wife Barbara, also 72, said: ‘He’s a hardworking family man who loves his kids and his grandchildren, it all seems to be all girls, they’re all gorgeous.
‘He’s been on his own now for a while. Donna had a heart attack in the middle of the night. Amo was working so wasn’t there. It was very sad.
‘He has been a wonderful friend to us. When I was ill for six weeks I couldn’t drive and if he ever saw me he’d get me into his car and told me to be careful, if he saw me with my shopping he’d run up the road and grab my shopping to help me.
‘If he does move it will he sad to see him go, but hopefully he can now stop working and give himself a rest.’
Recalling how Mr Riselli broke the news about his big win, Mr Hazell said: ‘I was walking past his house and he came running out to me, grabbed my shoulder pulled me in, and said “guess what?” I said “what?” he said “I’ve won the lottery it’s £24 million”.
‘He was shaking like a leaf, he couldn’t get himself together, I told him to sit down and calm down. He’s just a lovely man, I’m really happy for him.’
Mr Riselli did not realise he had won Wednesday’s draw for two days, during which time he kept the precious ticket in his glove compartment before going to his local corner shop to scan the several tickets he buys each week at the same time.
After scanning the first ticket, the terminal at Seymour Road Post Office made an unusual noise and Mr Riselli was told he had matched five main numbers plus the bonus ball and should contact Camelot.
After the astonishing news, his mother Maria was given the responsibility of keeping the ticket in a safe place and she stored it in a glass jar in the cupboard, checking it was still there every time she walked by.
Christmas continued as normal and the family shared a glass of champagne during new year celebrations – just like every year, even though they knew about the jackpot win.
Mr Riselli’s daughter Bethany spoke to MailOnline after her father was publicly announced as the winner, saying: ‘We’ve been going out for dinner every night since hearing about the win on Friday. I heard at work when people started ringing me on my break – I was in shock really.
‘On Saturday we went out to a local place and yesterday we were out in Bella Italia. My dad wanted to keep it quiet at first but then the word got out and he wanted to go public.’
Mr Riselli celebrated in the traditional style with a bottle of champagne alongside his five daughters, sister Lisa, and mother, Maria, who turns 80 next month
Another of Mr Riselli’s daughters, Letitia Sciberras, joined him to celebrate the win alongside his mother, Maria, who turns 80 in February
One of Mr Riselli’s five daughters, Bethany Sciberras,(left) posted an emotional tribute to her mother, Donna,(right) saying ‘we miss you every single day)
Mr Riselli bought his winning ticket from Seymour Road Post Office Gloucester. He matched five numbers and the bonus ball to win the draw
Gaunthi Rajkumar, Rajkumar Shan and Rajah Bala all work at the Best One Shop and Post office in Gloucester where Mr Riselli bought his winning lottery ticket
Mr Riselli celebrating after hearing the amount he had won; and with his sister, Lisa, while collecting the cheque today
Bethany added: ‘We are sad not to have our mother here, she would have loved the news.’
As it was a busy time over the festive period, Mr Riselli still had a few regular taxi runs to do before he decided to hang up his car keys for good and retire.
‘I will miss all my friends at work as we really have a laugh together, but I’ve decided I’m going to retire – just because now I can,’ he said.
Mr Riselli is still overwhelmed with the enormity of his win, but reality is now kicking in with news of his luck spreading as far as Italy, where his parents are originally from, and people getting in touch to congratulate him.
After treating family and friends, Mr Riselli is planning on moving house.
He wants a four bedroom home with a swimming pool but still in the Gloucester area, where he has lived all of his life.
He is also going to celebrate by arranging a big get together as a thank you for all his colleagues from the Grosvenor taxi rank, where he was self-employed for 12 years.
A holiday to Las Vegas is on the cards, but more than anything else, he just wants to have a great time with his family.
Mr Riselli’s niece, Becca Scriberras, posted this message on Instagram following his win, writing, ‘Only good times ahead now, would be a dream to have our beautiful auntie sharing the happiness with you’
The new multi-millionaire did not have all six numbers but the top prize had to be won, so the jackpot rolled down to those who had matched five numbers and the bonus ball – which only he did. Mr Riselli is pictured celebrating with his family, including his mother, Maria, middle
Mr Riselli is pictured alongside his partner and the mother of his children, Donna Sciberras, who died four years ago from a heart attack
Addressing the media at the Hatherley Manor Hotel, near Gloucester, he told how he always buys three lines for the Lotto draws on Wednesday and Saturday and saves up a batch to get them all checked at the same time.
Taking the printout from his winning ticket, Mr Riselli ran next door to his sister Lisa’s hair salon and excitedly shouted he had won the lottery, thinking at first he had pocketed a £240,000 win.
Mr Riselli wants a four bedroom home with a swimming pool but still in the Gloucester area, where he has lived all of his life
He said: ‘I try to get my tickets checked in the same shop and I have always said: ‘One day this machine is going to start smoking red hot because I will have hit the big one.’
‘I can’t believe that it’s actually happened to me for real! I then called my brother Marco. I was shaking like a leaf and I told him I’d won £240k.
‘He said he didn’t understand how that could be as he’d already checked his own ticket and didn’t remember that winning amount.
‘He asked what numbers I’d got and when I told him he cried: ‘You’ve won the whole jackpot of £24 million. It’s an amazing feeling and I’m absolutely over the moon.’
Mr Riselli said: ‘I’m not going to play the lottery any more, as I’ve already conquered that ‘big win’ – it is someone else’s turn now.’
‘I may now be a multi-millionaire but I am still the same normal person I always was.
‘The difference is just now I have a bit more loose change in my pocket.’
Mr Riselli worked for himself and drove a six-seater cab which he operated from a city centre taxi rank near the bus station.
A fellow cabbie said: ‘Everyone knows Amo. He’s a diamond. Always wants a laugh and a chat.
‘His life was his family and when Donna died it was very sad. We all felt for him.
‘We just hope now he’s a millionaire he doesn’t forget us and gives us a decent tip when we give him a lift to wherever he’s going.’
The cab driver scooped £24,501,283 after matching five main numbers and the bonus ball in the Lotto draw last Wednesday. He is pictured with his sister, Lisa
A golden year! A record number of Lottery players become millionaires in 2017
Some 358 ticket-holders received cheques for £1million or more in 2017, up from 347 in 2016, sharing £796million.
The year’s biggest prize was won by an anonymous EuroMillions player, who banked £87million in June.
In the same month another anonymous ticket-holder scooped the year’s second largest Lotto win – after the Gloucester cabbie – of £21.3million.
Catering was the luckiest profession this year, with big winners including a syndicate of six ‘Catering Girls’ (pictured) from Wales, who shared a £25 million EuroMillions jackpot in November
If no players match all six numbers then the prize money will move down to the next winning tier – most likely five matching numbers plus the bonus ball.
Catering was the luckiest profession this year, with big winners including a syndicate of six ‘Catering Girls’ from Wales, who shared a £25million EuroMillions jackpot in November.
The six hospital cooks picked up more than £4m each and celebrated by quitting their £300-a-week jobs and splashing out on a Chinese takeaway.
Julie Saunders, 56, leader of the ‘Catering Girls’ syndicate said: ‘It is amazing. We all decided to retire on the spot’
Julie Saunders, 56, leader of the ‘Catering Girls’ syndicate said: ‘It is amazing. We all decided to retire on the spot.
‘It’s someone else’s turn to cook meals and serve them up to patients.’
Builders had the second most millionaires across the year, while last year’s top-ranking profession, drivers, were in third.
Fifty-five-year-old care assistant Patricia Aldridge and her husband Robert (pictured) celebrated becoming millionaires this year after scooping the top prize of £1million on the Lucky Dip
Fifty-five-year-old care assistant Patricia Aldridge and her husband Robert also celebrated becoming millionaires this year after scooping the top prize of £1million on the Lucky Dip.
But the couple, who live in a £290,000 house in Slough, Berkshire, kept their feet firmly on the ground, saying the hefty sum ‘won’t change a thing’.
The mother-of-three worked a 12-hour stint at a Dementia and Alzheimer’s home in the area at over Christmas Day.
Mr Riselli bought his winning ticket from Seymour Road Post Office in Gloucester.
A £4million scratchcard prize was won by Melissa Ede, a taxi driver from Hull and a former guest on The Jeremy Kyle Show.
The transgender reality personality posted a cryptic message on social media hinting at some good news.
She wrote on Monday: ‘Tomorrow, I will prove the impossible is actually possible. Stay tuned.’
The biggest and most infamous National Lottery winners
1. Colin and Chris Weir: £161,653,000
The husband and wife of 30 years from Largs in Ayrshire, who have two children, became Europe’s biggest lottery winners in July 2011 with the massive win.
The £161 million prize catapulted them into the Sunday Times Rich List above Beatle Ringo Starr and Sir Tom Jones.
Psychiatric nurse Mrs Weir and Mr Weir, who worked as a TV cameraman and studio manager for 23 years, have reportedly bought a fleet of cars for friends since their win as well as a mansion.
The couple donated £3.5m to the pro-independence Yes Scotland campaign ahead of the 2014 referendum, and have also pledged £4.5m to the Scottish National Party since 2011.
Colin and Chris Weir won a total of £161,653,000 in July 2011, instantly catapulting them into the Sunday Times Rich List
2. Adrian and Gillian Bayford: £148,656,000
Children’s nurse Gillian and former postman Adrian, from Haverhill, Suffolk, won the massive prize in August 2014.
The couple split 15 months later after nine years of marriage, with Bayford famously proposing to Sam Burbidge, who recently left him in a well-publicised break-up.
Adrian and Gillian Bayford won £148,656,000 in 2014 and bought luxury holidays and cars after the windfall
She now lives near Dundee in Scotland while he has the £6million mansion near their original home.
Gillian, 45, recently split from her her fiancée Alan Warnock, 46, following a three-year engagement.
3. Anonymous: £113,019,926
One ticket-holder scooped the massive prize in October 2010 but decided not to go public.
4. Neil Trotter: £107,932,603
Neil Trotter, 44, of Coulsdon, south London, who runs a repair garage in Mitcham called Chameleon Coachworks, became the National Lottery’s fourth biggest winner.
He purchased a Grade II listed mansion with its own lake and 400 acres of land in Cowden, Sevenoaks.
5. Dave and Angela Dawes: £101,203,600
Dave Dawes a shift supervisor for Premier Foods, and Angela Dawes, a volunteer for the British Heart Foundation, hit the EuroMillions jackpot in October 2011.
It was only the third time the couple, from Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, had played the lottery.
Dave Dawes, a shift supervisor for Premier Foods, and Angela Dawes, a volunteer for the British Heart Foundation, won £101million
6. Anonymous: £93,388,943
The windfall was won in June 2015 but the winner did not go public.
7. Anonymous: £87,570,000
The seventh biggest ever lottery jackpot winner in the UK instantly became worth more than Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe (£78m) and musician Ed Sheeran (£52m) following their win in July 2017.
8. Anonymous: £84,451,320
The haul was won in May 2010 but the winner kept their identity secret.
9. Anonymous: £81,381,673
One lucky British ticket-holder picked up £81million in a EuroMillions rollover.
10. Nigel Page: £56,008,113
White van man and sky-diving enthusiast Nigel Page, 43, won a £56 million windfall in February 2010.
Mr Page, who lived in a three-bedroom semi near Cirencester, Wiltshire, married his girlfriend Justine, 42, and moved into a mansion in the Cotswolds.
It was reported that he paid ex-wife Wendy, 43, who he separated from 10 years previously £2 million after she made a legal claim for £8 million.
1. Jane Park: £1million
The 21-year-old won the price but later slammed gambling chiefs at Camelot, which runs the competition, for ‘ruining her life’.
She famously invested in a £4,500 breast enlargement operation, and £18,000 Land Rover and a Louis Vuitton handbag.
2. Michael Carroll: £9.7million
Carroll famously won the windfall in 2002 at the age of just 19, but frittered it away.
The former binman spent £340,000 on a six-bedroom home in Swaffham, Norfolk, then spent a further £400,000 on garish upgrades including a car racing track in the garden.
But he later developed a crack addiction and his lavish spending brought him to the brink of poverty and he was declared bankrupt in 2010.
3. Mukhtar Mohidin: £17.9million
In 1994 Mukhtar Mohidin made history by becoming Britain’s first National Lottery multi-millionaire, winning £17.9million.
When he bought the magic ticket in Tesco, he was a 42-year-old chemical factory shift-worker, living with his wife, Sayeeda, and their three young children, in a redbrick terraced house in Blackburn, Lancashire.
But he turned his back on his family life and working-class roots for heavy-drinking, escorts and gambling.
He died this year at the age of 64.