Claim: A man committed suicide because he mistakenly believed his lotto numbers had come up the one week he didn’t play them.
Origins: In April 1995 Timothy O’Brien committed suicide by shooting himself in the head because his half-share of a five-week ticket on Britain’s (then) new National Lottery had expired just before the draw he thought would have made him a multi-millionaire.
The truth is, even if he’d held a valid ticket for his usual numbers, O’Brien wouldn’t have won. The numbers that came up would have entitled the ticketholders to a prize of
Barbara “innumeracy kills” Mikkelson
Originally published: 31 December 1998
Last updated: 12 January 2016