Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday, Evening Standard & Metro Media Group Â© 2006 Associated Newspapers Ltd Part I... This was the lottery that nobody wanted to win. The day New York's Twin Towers were destroyed by hijacked planes, hundreds of widows were left destitute. As the full extent of the horror of 9/11 became evident, public donations poured in. During the feverish days following the attack, Congress established a billion- dollar compensation fund, and grieving wives became overnight millionaires. No one could have known that for many of them, the money would destroy their lives once again, attracting jealousy, resentful relatives and making them even more depressed. Some would become squandering, spendaholic widows, their payouts fuelling addictions which could not replace the husbands they had lost. Others would become embroiled in legal battles with their families, their lives eaten up by bitterness. Some, vilified by the public, would even receive a cash windfall which attracted others' husbands. And, most pitifully, some would get very little at all - their spouses deemed worthy of only a pittance under a system which favoured the rich. Those who took the 'blood money' of up to $7 million each were banned from suing the government or airlines for further compensation, their rights stripped away. Now the widows' stories are being told for the first time in a graphic television documentary to be shown tonight on Channel 4. The partner of one victim of the terror attack says: 'The public must assume that these families have been taken care of and everything worked out great, not realising that in many cases things worked out horribly.' Eileen Cirri's husband was one of the 2,823 people killed in the 9/11 attack. Her immediate thought when she heard that the first plane had crashed into the North Tower at 8.46am was for her husband, Robert, a policeman. 'I remember it like yesterday,' she says. 'I was on my way to work when I heard of the attack, it felt like the longest ride in the world. When I got to my desk, I called his station. No one answered.' As she watched the second plane, United Airlines Flight 175, hit the South Tower at 9.03am, Eileen became increasingly distraught. Then the telephone rang. 'It was him calling me, and I was like: "Thank God!" she says. 'It was 9.24am. He said: "I love you very much." I said: "You just need to get out of there!" and he goes: "I have to do something!"' A policeman with more than 17 years' experience and a paramedic in his spare time, Robert told his wife that he was going to try to save people trapped in the North Tower. It would be the last conversation between the couple. 'He sounded very, very confident,' his widow recalls. 'I said: "Just be quick. I love you. I'll see you at home tonight." And I thought I was going to see him.' Half an hour later, Eileen watched the towers collapse live on television. She returned home and waited for Robert to call again. When the phone finally rang, it would change her life. Her husband died inside the North Tower when it fell down, although his body would not be found for another five months. He was discovered in rubble on a stairwell, and had been trying to carry a woman in a wheelchair to safety. When her husband's life was valued at $1.5 million by the Victim Compensation Fund in the months following his death, Eileen rejected the money.