Cleared, actor who blamed assault on anti-smoking drug
AN ACTOR accused of assaulting his girlfriend escaped trial yesterday after blaming the attack on an anti-smoking drug.
The case against Casualty actor Nicholas Williams collapsed when medical experts suggested a mix of alcohol and the drug Champix could have fuelled the assault.
A judge found Williams, 33, not guilty of assault and causing actual bodily harm after experts said the drug, combined with alcohol and a history of depression, could have caused him to lose control.
His ex-girlfriend Helen Millar told police he subjected her to a terrifying two-hour assault after taking her out to dinner to celebrate her 26th birthday last August.
In Miss Millar’s version of events – contested by Williams, she claims the 6ft 3in bit-part actor threw her out into the street naked, before ‘water-boarding’ her in a shower and forcing her to cower in a freezing bath-tub.
The petite actress said Williams turned on her at the end of the night after their friends had left the rented flat they shared in Islington, North London.
Miss Millar told the Mail: ‘As soon as they were gone, Nick
‘I couldn’t breathe’
pulled me out of the shower by the hair. He started shaking me, saying I had humiliated him in front of our friends.
‘He hit me, and then hit me again, and then he threw me out into the streets completely naked and locked the door.’
She said he let her back in after five minutes, but she only had time to put on a T-shirt before he threw her on the bed and pushed her head into the pillows.
‘I couldn’t breathe,’ she said. ‘I thought I was going to die. I was screaming and screaming and to stop me he pulled my jaw open to try and break it.’
She said he then threw her in the bath, pulled her T-shirt over her head and turned the shower on ‘full and freezing’ in her face.
‘The water was all over my mouth,’ she said. ‘I thought I was going to drown. I have since found out it’s called waterboarding – it’s a form of torture.’
She said she was ordered to lie in the cold bath and stayed there for two hours, before creeping away and raising the alarm.
Miss Millar said she has since been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Blackfriars Crown Court, Central London, heard that Williams had been drinking heavily.
Trial judge Henry Blacksell QC said Williams’s legal team had accepted that Miss Millar had been attacked, but no details about the level of the assault were revealed in court.
Williams denied the charges of assault and causing actual bodily harm because he insisted the mix of alcohol and Champix was responsible for his behaviour.
He told police he had no recollection of what happened, and his defence team argued that the drug could also have been linked to his apparent memory loss.
Dr Malcolm VandenBurg, medical expert for the prosecution, told the court there was no clinical evidence of Champix reacting badly with alcohol.
But under cross-examination he admitted he could not rule out the possibility of such a link being established.
Prosecution lawyers attempted to introduce new evidence – a university study that found no adverse effects from combining Champix with alcohol.
But the judge ruled that any further delays to the trial would be unfair to Williams, and formally cleared him of all charges.
He imposed a two-year restraining order banning any contact between the former couple unless ‘strictly necessary’ because of their acting work.
In a dramatic twist, Williams, of Lytchett Minster, Dorset, was taken from the court to hospital yesterday after he appeared to suffer a heart attack.
19 Stress: Helen Millar was thrown naked into the street
Drinking: Nicholas Williams