Known across Britain by his tabloid nickname, the Lotto Lout, Mr. Carroll won £9.7 million (about $15 million at the time) in the national lottery three years ago and showed up to collect his prize while wearing a police-issued electronic ankle bracelet. The question now raging in Swaffham is whether he deserves to throw the switch at the town's annual Christmas lights display, as he was briefly invited to do.
"I personally have nothing against him," said Terry Drake, a prominent local businessman who owns a hardware store on the main street of this busy old market town. "But a convicted criminal shouldn't be in a position to do something that children are supposed to look up to."
At this point, Mr. Carroll is not likely to be turning on anyone's lights except his own. After a huge public outcry, the town has rescinded the invitation and will probably have no holiday display at all this year (Mr. Carroll was going to pay for it).
How can someone so fortunate, be so stupid. It's true, life was not meant to be fair.
He should NOT be invited. Winning the lotto makes you a overnight celeb but there is no way rational people have to be so silly and simply invite him because of his wealth. Here's my thought, would they invite him as a poor man? The person is the question. If they wouldn't invite poor then don't invite him wealthy. Cheers,
Hey.. if Paris Hilton .. an Inkeepers Daughter .. can be the celeb of the press, this guy can be anything he wants.
He only won 15 million $ and they're making a big deal of it? In the USA we seem to get multi-millionaires being made monthly. (then again I guess we have a lot more lottery games than the UK does)
What was it he did to earn him the ankle bracelet? I think (at least here in the USA) that would matter. If it was because he did somethng like lie to the Grand Jury (like Martha Stewert did when she had to wear one) people wouldn't care. If, OTOH, he was a child molester, that is entirely a different m atter.
"Before he won the lottery, he was a nuisance," Charles Joyce, a local official, said. "He decided to carry on being a nuisance."
Among other things, he has appeared in court more than 30 times in the last three years. He has spent three months in jail on drugs charges, paid thousands of dollars in fines for vandalism and been evicted from several hotels after, for instance, ripping a chandelier from the ceiling while trying to swing from it.
He was recently ordered to perform 240 hours of community service - later increased to 300 - after shooting ball bearings through 32 car and shop windows with a catapult as he drove around in the middle of the night.
He has been issued with two antisocial behavior orders in two local jurisdictions forbidding him to threaten, harass or intimidate anyone in a 400-mile radius. He has been told by local government authorities to stop throwing raucous late-night parties and to stop holding demolition derbies on his land.
And he has been told to clean up the yard of his house, strewn as it is with tires, beer cans, food wrappers, wrecked furniture and the hulks of half-smashed-up old cars.
Mr. Carroll is an object of national fascination in part because of his apparently pathological criminality, and in part because he represents a kind of Briton known as a chav. Chavs, whether rich or poor, tend to favor gaudy jewelry and expensive-but-tacky clothes with big logos and to behave in a way that others find coarse or obnoxious.
Male chavs wear tracksuits and baseball caps; female chavs pull their hair tightly back in buns or ponytails, a style known as a "council house facelift," from the term for public housing.
Mr. Carroll has "King of Chavs" printed on his Mercedes, a car known in the newspapers as the Loutmobile (its license plate reads L111 OUT).
The derivation of the word chav, which began to be widely used about a year ago as the problem of binge drinking in Britain's towns and cities became a huge national issue, is murky. Some say it comes from an 18th century Romany word meaning "child"; others believe it may come from the town of Chatham in Kent, known, apparently, for its large chav population (the theory that it is an acronym for Council Housed and Violent is most likely untrue).
Chav behavior - outrageous spending sprees, drunken brawls, inappropriate public displays of affection, screaming matches with loved ones in bars, destruction of property, late-night stumbling and/or vomiting - provide celebrity magazines here with much of their material. Among British women, Coleen McLoughlin, the girlfriend of the soccer star Wayne Rooney, is seen as a celebrity chav.
Ms. McLoughlin - whose new house with Mr. Rooney reportedly includes its own spray-tanning booth - is rarely photographed without a variety of designer-store shopping bags and a thong showing above her pants. Her 18th birthday party last year descended into chaos when the free drinks ran out and Mr. Rooney's uncle began yelling abuse at the waiters.
Others in the greater chav universe are David and Victoria Beckham, who would hate to be considered chavs but who nonetheless wore matching purple outfits and sat on matching thrones at their wedding; and Jordan, a former topless model who recently traveled to her own wedding in a Cinderella-style carriage shaped like a pumpkin and pulled by six white horses.
Mr. Carroll, who collects chav products like jewelry, cars and tattoos, has also experienced the underside of famous chavdom, with friends denouncing him publicly. His now ex-girlfriend told The Sun that Mr. Carroll believed that "the trees in his front garden are actually people disguised as trees," and spent his nights prowling around the house looking for intruders. "I'll tell him, 'Come back to bed, you stupid twit,' " she told the newspaper.
The Christmas lights offer came from Swaffham's honorary town crier, Eddie Godden, who is responsible for organizing the display this year. But after receiving letters of protest from across the country, the council not only decreed that Mr. Carroll was to go nowhere near the display (if there is one) but also removed Mr. Godden from his post.
"He has misbehaved, but he's done what most teenaged boys would do in winning that sort of money," Mr. Godden said of Mr. Carroll. "He's 22 and he's had a lot of bad publicity and he's already been to prison. This is the first conscious public thing he's done to give some money to a good cause. I think he was ready to make amends."
Is he ready to make amends? Mr. Carroll's lawyer, Neil Meacham, would not say.
"I get so many calls from television and the newspapers that unless you pay me, I really don't have time to talk to you," Mr. Meacham said in a brief interview. But he allowed that Mr. Carroll was "vigorously contesting" many of the outstanding charges against him.
Mr. Carroll recently participated in a charity boxing match with a television gladiator named Rhino, but Mr. Meacham declined to comment on the latest rumor: that his client is negotiating to star in a reality television series about the chav lifestyle.
"The only thing that is certain in life is uncertainty," Mr. Meacham said, and hung up the telephone.
'Chavs'...that is funny.
I especially liked the "late-night stumbling and/or vomiting".