Cleared, ac­tor who blamed as­sault on anti-smok­ing drug

Daily Mail - - sandra Parsons - By Vanessa Allen and Kather­ine Faulkner

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

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