The husband of a woman killed in a car crash with lottery winner Matt Topham has paid a moving tribute to his wife of 56 years.
Rodney Regler spoke as the 31-year-old accused appeared in court charged with causing death by dangerous driving.
The grieving 78-year-old, who was -seriously injured in last year’s Christmas Day smash, said he was not aware Topham became the youngest person in Britain to have won a substantial amount on the lottery when he landed ￡45million in 2012.
Speaking about wife Jane, 75, he added: “We were soulmates. I’ve got a great hole here that will never be filled. I had quite a few injuries but I got over them. I’m left with a gammy leg but that’s it.”
The couple were returning from their son’s house in their Ford Fiesta when they collided with Topham’s BMW X6 at North Cockerington, Lincs. They were just just a few hundreds metres from home.
Former Post Office cleaner Jane died in hospital from her injuries.
Topham was charged in September and appeared via video-link at Lincoln crown court. He is also charged with causing serious injury as a result of dangerous driving. The former painter and decorator will next appear in court on December 18 and is due on trial in March.
The dad-of-three won the jackpot with his supermarket worker wife Casey.
When told of Topham’s EuroMillions windfall, he said: “I had no idea.
“I couldn’t care less that he was a lottery winner. What will happen in court will happen in court, and that will be for the court to decide. But I don’t hold grudges, I get on with my life, get myself better and do what I do.” After the tragedy, tributes flooded in for Jane. One local said the gran was “kind” and “well-loved”.
And in a local paper obituary, her family said she had been “tragically taken” from them.
They described her as a “much-loved wife, mum, nan and friend who will be sadly missed by all that knew her”.
Daughter-in-law Debra Regler posted on Facebook : “The sudden death of someone you love is like being punched in the face. It takes a while to register what’s actually happened before it properly starts to hurt. The bruises and the lasting effects, both physically and psychologically are going to be with you forever.”
Hundreds of mourners wearing bright colours turned out for Jane’s funeral at Alford crematorium.
Topham and Casey went public with their EuroMillions win and hit the -headlines after planning to build a -“Teletubbies” mansion.
The couple have also splashed out on luxury cars, houses and holidays for family and friends.
It emerged last week he had bought his mother-in-law a ￡600,000 petting zoo.