A young man who pocketed a whopping $22million Powerball windfall before spiraling into a life of drugs, crime and debauchery.
Joshua John Winslet was only 22 and living in New Zealand when he learned he was the sole winner of the enormous division one prize in 2017 – but it only took three years for his life to completely unravel.
In August 2020, police raided his home in New Port, Adelaide and found 27.3g of MDMA – some of which was found in a bowl in the fridge, near a box of Red Bull – 2.27g of cocaine, along with a Mauser handgun and ammunition in his bathroom.
Winslet, now 27, pleaded guilty to supplying MDMA and possessing a firearm without a licence, and was sentenced to three years and nine months in jail, with a non-parole period of 18 months in SA’s District Court in August this year.
The time behind bars was suspended on a two-year good behaviour bond, with supervision.
During sentencing, Judge Heath Barklay detailed the extent of Winslet’s drug addiction – supplying to his addict friends, and letting them trash his house and essentially use it as a squalid drug den.
The judge also told the court about the many operations Winslet had to endure as a small child to treat Duane syndrome and Goldenhar syndrome – two rare and incurable conditions he battled since birth.
Duane syndrome occurs when the eye muscles do not develop properly, which results in difficulties rolling one or both eyes outward or inward.
Goldenhar syndrome causes abnormalities in the formation of the bones in the face and head, which can lead to facial asymmetry, a partially-formed or absent ear, benign cysts on the eye, spinal issues, and can impact internal organs.
In Winslet’s case, the latter condition meant he was born with a singular horseshoe-shaped kidney, and an irregular heart beat which stopped him from being able to play contact sports.
He also underwent plastic surgery when he was very young to try and correct his physical abnormalities.
As a result of his physical deformities, he was severely bullied at school.
As a result, he left school in Year 10 and studied at Adelaide University Senior College for six months.
He then did a plumbing apprenticeship, which he finished when he turned 20, and moved to the South Island of New Zealand to find a job when the company he worked for failed.
Soon after that, he found out he won Powerball and the millions were placed in a trust fund – which was managed by his parents.
He used a large portion to buy multiple properties in South Australia and New Zealand, but he somehow managed to use the cash to fuel his drug habits.
Shocking photos from inside the property showed a bowl of white powder inside a largely empty fridge, bagged MDMA, cocaine and marijuana, nangs (nitrous oxide bulbs), several large bongs and countless empty drink bottles and cans.
Hung on one of the walls was Winslet’s winning lottery ticket while in other rooms empty bottles, cans and dirty plates cover almost every available surface.
In another room, rubbish and clothes were strewn on a floor beside an electronic drum kit and floor-to-ceiling projector screen.
Elsewhere, the homes floors were filthy, and beds were left unmade as garbage, including empty soft drink cans and takeaway food containers accumulated in every room.
The court heard sudden wealth turned him into ‘a free ride’ for other drug users who were allowed to ‘run amok’ in his home.
Judge Heath Barklay said Winslet ‘lost motivation’ for life and preferred a ‘hedonistic lifestyle’ slipped into regular drug use after his win.
‘Because of the money that you had won, there was no motivation on your part to work or do anything other than enjoy yourself,’ he said.
‘You had lots of money so you could afford to buy large amounts of drugs, which you would use yourself and supply to your so-called friends from time to time.’
One ‘friend’ stored a firearm and bullets in his roof, which Judge Barklay said the placement in a home where heavy drug use was normal increased the chances the weapon would be used for ‘an unlawful purpose’.
Winslet defense team stated that the arrest was a “wake up call”.
See photos of the inside of the house below: