Former snooker player Willie Thorne has revealed how his wife saved him from killing himself over over £1million in gambling debts.
Thorne had taken a knife to a hotel and written letters to family members, only to be saved by his wife Jill Saxby who burst into the room after finding it just in time.
The 61-year-old, who is declaring himself bankrupt, says his gambling addiction and resulting debts have spiraled out of control, with lenders even threatening to cut off his wife’s fingers and take her jewelry to repay the loans.
Former snooker player and Strictly Come Dancing contestant Willie Thorne has revealed he attempted suicide after racking up £1million in gambling debts, only to be saved by his wife Jill (left)
“I saw no way out,” he told the Sunday peopleis Nick Owens. “I had caused so much heartache to so many people. It’s so cowardly. I have three children, two stepchildren and grandchildren and life in a beautiful home with a loving wife…but I don’t couldn’t see a way out.
Thorne has previously explained how he started playing during his snooker career, but when he retired in 2002 he found it harder to finance his habit.
He told The People he struggled to cope after quitting the sport, where he once reached number seven in the world rankings, and started accepting money from lenders who knew he couldn’t. couldn’t resist borrowing money in hopes of being rewarded with a big win.
Thorne says he took a knife to a hotel and wrote letters to family members, only to be saved by Ms Saxby, pictured with him in 2007, who found it just in time.
In his 2011 autobiography, Taking A Punt On My Life, Thorne – who went by the nickname Mr. Maximum – opened up about his love of horse racing and how the habit left him with mounting debt.
He revealed in the book that he once attempted suicide in March 2002, days after his 48th birthday, by taking sleeping pills but was discovered by his stepson, then 11, and treated at the hospital. ‘hospital.
“It was a terrible thing to do,” he said of the 2002 attempt in his autobiography. I took the easy way out and left it [Ms Saxby] to mop up the mess I had created.
The snooker star pictured in 1991 (right) and taking on a teenager Stephen Hendry in 1986 (left)
He suffered a mild stroke in 2010, in the middle of a acceptance speech at a charity event, which he says may have been brought on in part by the stress of his gambling addiction.
Thorne, who appeared on Strictly Come Dancing in 2007, has managed to master his bets.
However, when her mother Nancy died in 2013, Thorne, who has previously opened up about her battle with depression, fell back into acting.
He was encouraged by professional gamblers and went from betting around £1,000 to betting up to £20,000 on a single race.
Thorne and his wife removed all valuables from their home to fend off bailiffs
“Mom was my rock and everything to me,” he said. “When she left, I wanted to make enough money to get away from how I felt. I wanted to earn enough to earn happily ever after.
Thorne said that while he had a few wins, he suffered some big losses and started getting into debt – borrowing money from friends and even asking his buddies for money. billiards Dennis Taylor and John Virgo as well as Match Of The Day host Gary Lineker.
In June, unable to cope with mounting debts, he decided to take his own life, only to be arrested by Mrs Saxby, a former Miss Great Britain.
Thorne had called friends to make a final request for money, who in turn told Ms Saxby who had called 999.
Police arrived at the hotel and Thorne was taken to hospital.
In December last year, his home was also visited by men who ordered a family member to hand over £300,000 in cash.
Then he received the threat that thugs would cut off Ms Saxby’s fingers to gain access to her diamond rings.
The couple have now emptied their home of all their possessions, including Thorne’s sports trophies to prevent bailiffs from taking them, leaving behind only a bed, sofa and chair.
Thorne told the newspaper he owed up to £1m, which he had borrowed to pay off gambling debts or place new bets.
He said, “People must think I’m the TV guy who must have a lot of money.” But nothing could be further from the truth. The house I live in is mortgaged to the hilt and the cars are rented.
He still struggles with depression and insomnia, but is determined to rebuild his life.
Thorne says he hasn’t placed a bet for three months, while the BBC – for whom Thorne ran the World Snooker Championship – told him they would back him.
For confidential support call the Samaritans in the UK on 08457 90 90 90, visit a local branch of the Samaritans or visit their website www.samaritans.org.