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LOTTERY HELL OF WINNER: JAIL AT HANDS OF DRUG SPIKE GANG; Pal blames gate-crashers.

Byline: NICOLA PORTER

A BASH thrown by shamed Lottery millionaire Nigel Gardner-Hale was stormed by gate-crashers who passed around drug-spiked water, it was claimed last night.

Gardner-Hale - jailed for dealing ecstasy at the get-together - had not wanted the party to get out of hand.

And pal James Clegg insisted trouble only started at the party - at which off-duty police were guests - after gate-crashers arrived with water laced with designer sex drug GHB.

Nigel, who won pounds 3.4million on the Lottery, was arrested at the party after a guest dialled 999 when two people collapsed with suspected GHB overdoses.

They found the 30-year-old lying flat-out in the pounds 300,000 six-bed home in Maesteg, south Wales. He had also taken GHB.

James, 28, from Swansea, said last night: "It has been made out that Nigel held a wild sex and drugs orgy at his home. But in reality the party was arranged for a hard-up mate's birthday.

"Anyone would think there were naked women cavorting on the pool side in drug-induced hazes. Things couldn't have been further from the truth.

"There were even police officer pals at the party and we were all looking forward to a great night until it turned ugly."

He said the gate-crashers brought bottles of water laced with GHB to the party. He added: "Nobody knew what was going on until it was too late. The gate-crashers were passing around the bottles of spiked water.

"I am not saying Nigel had not taken drugs until that night, he had. But most of the drugs were brought to the party by outsiders.

"They were not invited and turned up after finding out about the party.

"James did have some drugs in the house and told police about it. They my not even have found them if he not volunteered the information."

He added: "All his friends feel guilty about what has happened - he is a kind person who would do anything for anybody." Gardner-Hale admitted three drugs charges - supplying ecstasy, possession of 44 ecstasy tablets and allowing cannabis smoking in his house - when he appeared in court on Monday.

James said: "Winning the money did not change Nigel.

"But it did put him on the road to living the high life and I suppose drugs was part of that lifestyle."

He added: "I don't know how he's going to cope in prison."

James and Nigel became friends after his family moved to Port Talbot's Sandfields estate when James was eight.

He became the target of bullies until Nigel and brother Karl stuck up for him.

He added:"We have been friends for 20 years and I can't believe this has happened.

"When Nigel won the money it seemed to be the answer to all his problems but instead it has landed him in jail."

CAPTION(S):

SHAMED: Gardner-Hale was arrested at his plush home, above. A pal says drugs brought to the party caused the trouble
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 2, 2001
Words:490
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