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'World's unluckiest man' dies in house fire after surviving cancer, heroin addiction and robberies

A man who described himself as the ‘world’s unluckiest man’ has died in a tragic house fire – after surviving cancer, a heroin addiction, several car accidents and countless robberies.

Paul Murphy, 62, gave himself the unfortunate title after revealing his long history of bad luck back in 2013.

Just when he thought his luck had finally turned around, his horrifically burned body was pulled from the wreckage of a house fire in Clemton Park, south west Sydney on August 29.  

Back in 2013, he’d lost a set of dentures during a night out on the town in Sydney, and was appealing with the local community to have them returned to him.

The then 55-year-old was living off a small pension, and simply couldn’t afford to buy a new set. 

The false teeth had been in his pocket rather than his mouth when he stumbled home because they hurt too much to wear constantly after he was attacked during a home invasion at his Redfern housing commission flat months earlier.

Paul Murphy, 62, earned the unfortunate title after revealing his long history of bad luck back in 2013

Paul Murphy, 62, earned the unfortunate title after revealing his long history of bad luck back in 2013

He stuck a printed sign around town which read: ‘Lost dentures. Upper and lower… owner far too drunk, fell over, a few too many times. I am a pensioner & desperately need my teeth. Reward offered’.

While the dentures were never returned, he was contacted by news.com.au, who he told about the series of unfortunate events which made up much of Mr Murphy’s life.

He was hooked on heroin by the time he graduated from Blakehurst High School in southern Sydney, and the addiction coupled with his dyslexia meant he always struggled to get a solid education.

Mr Murphy’s parents had enough money to send him to a rehabilitation clinic where patients were subjected to new electroconvulsive treatment known as deep-sleep therapy. 

The treatment was highly intrusive and required patients to be placed into a coma – sometimes for up to 39 days.

At least 27 patients died after receiving the treatment. Twenty-four of those deaths were suicides.

Mr Murphy received 42 electro-shocks in his 14-day stay, and came out of therapy with an addiction still as strong as the one he went in with, as well as trauma from the treatment.

Mr Murphy (pictured left) died on August 29 after his new house caught alight

Mr Murphy (pictured left) died on August 29 after his new house caught alight

He spent the next few years in and out of prison – primarily for drug related offences.

The addiction cost Mr Murphy many of his teeth, and all but one had fallen out or been removed by the time he left prison. 

When he was finally released, he made a pact to himself to get clean.

Mr Murphy landed a job as a car valuer, but after a serious car accident and several speeding tickets, he lost his license and then the job.

Desperate to remain in the industry, Mr Murphy opened a car detailing business.

As was his luck, Mr Murphy’s business opened next door to a funeral parlour. 

One day when he had several expensive cars in his shop, the corpse of a gang boss had been brought in next door.

That night, there was a drive-by attack in which someone – presumably a rival of the gang – firebombed the funeral parlour, destroying his business in the process.

He’d recently fallen behind on his insurance payments, and wasn’t covered. 

Eventually he got back on his feet again and began doing odd jobs for money, moving into the Redfern housing commission flats he would call home for the next decade.

Several of Mr Murphy's electric bikes were stolen while he was living in Redfern

Several of Mr Murphy’s electric bikes were stolen while he was living in Redfern

Shortly after making the move, Mr Murphy was attacked by a local teenager.

The boy was in a car and swung a baseball bat at Mr Murphy from the side of the road. The impact shattered the bones in his shoulder and he was forced to go to hospital.

Then again on New Years Day in 2011, Mr Murphy was standing on a footpath near his home when a motorbike rider crashed into him after speeding through the lights. 

Mr Murphy’s run of bad luck

  • Survived cancer
  • Girlfriend ran off with his best mate
  • Heroin addiction from a young age coupled with dyslexia impacted education opportunities
  • Victim of countless home invasions 
  • Involved in several car accidents
  • Car detailing business set alight in revenge attack on next door business
  • Had fallen behind on insurance payments prior to firebombing
  • Set on fire during a home invasion
  • Died in a house fire 

He broke his collarbone, shoulder, sternum and seven ribs. 

With the substantial payout he received from the accident, Mr Murphy splurged on a new television, computer, stereo and electric pushbike.

But shortly after, Mr Murphy’s flat was broken into and everything was stolen.

Again, he felt like he was back at square one. 

In another horrifying incident, a balaclava-clad thief sprayed fuel on his arm and set Mr Murphy on fire, but still, he survived. 

While he managed to install a steel door, his flat was broken into time and time again in the decade to follow, until eventually he managed to escape and move to Clemton Park late last year. 

When a journalist asked if he was the unluckiest person in the world, Mr Murphy responded: ‘About that, yeah’. 

He’d even been left heartbroken when the love of his life ran off with his best friend and survived a traumatic cancer battle.

But he truly believed his luck was changing, and was saving his pennies from the pension and odd jobs to install air conditioning in his beloved new home. 

In the end, he died after falling asleep while trying to cook some food in his new home.

He was taking medication for high blood pressure which contributed to his drowsiness.

In the early hours of August 29, Mr Murphy tried to cook some chips, but nodded off while the oven was on.

About 5.30am, neighbours called the fire brigade to warn that the flat was on fire, and emergency services tried desperately to revive an unconscious Mr Murphy.

He could not be saved. 

About 5.30am, neighbours called the fire brigade to warn that the flat was on fire, and emergency services tried desperately to revive an unconscious Mr Murphy. He could not be saved

About 5.30am, neighbours called the fire brigade to warn that the flat was on fire, and emergency services tried desperately to revive an unconscious Mr Murphy. He could not be saved

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